Young basketball players were everywhere in Grand Forks on Saturday, thanks to the Junior Grand Am tournament sponsored by the Fast Break Club.
And Minnesota Lynx star Lindsay Whalen enjoyed every minute of the day.
She was in town to conduct a youth basketball clinic sponsored by The Timberwolves and Lynx Basketball Academy. For roughly 90 minutes, campers ran through drills at Red River High School before having the chance for autographs and pictures with Whalen-one of the top players in the WNBA.
After the clinic, a lot of campers continued their play in the Junior Grand Am.
"It was a busy day with the tournament but it worked out to come up here and make it fun weekend," said Whalen. "There was a lot of energy; everyone was excited."
The Grand Am is one of the top youth tournaments in the area each spring. The tournament is open for players in third grade through high school. And it's never too early to start playing basketball.
"It's been shown that being on a team and developing teamwork helps with self-esteem and also in the classroom," said Whalen. "That's huge in all sports. When you're learning and just starting out, it's a lot of fun to watch the kids."
Whalen's professional season is right around the corner.
The Lynx begin training camp soon and the team's first WNBA game is scheduled for May 14.
"It should be an exciting season," said Whalen. "We have everyone back and we have a core group that's been together for a while."
The Lynx won WNBA titles in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Los Angeles beat Minnesota in last season's WNBA finals.
The Lynx will play in the Xcel Energy Center this season instead of Target Center.
The team has developed a strong fan base the past few seasons as well.
"Our fans are really into it; we have a passionate fan base," said Whalen. "They know the league and the players. It's definitely a knowledgeable crowd."
The Lynx again should be one of the league favorites this season.
"We should be there with the other top teams," said Whalen. "That's all you can ask for every year."