Ty Berry was on his second official visit last month when he came to Minnesota, but it was the first time he got to experience the fan atmosphere at a Big Ten school.
Berry, a 6-foot-2 guard at Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.), enjoyed sitting with the Gophers basketball team as they watched the U football team beat South Dakota State at TCF Bank Stadium last Thursday.
“That was a solid game,” the four-star prospect told the Star Tribune this week. “I had a good time with the coaching staff and my parents.”
Still, what impressed Berry the most about the entire visit was being able to chat with Minnesota coach Richard Pitino about the program. Previously, Berry’s communication had mostly been with assistant Kyle Lindsted, who first recruited him two years ago on Wichita State’s staff.
“It improved my perspective on Minnesota,” Berry said. “At first, I was a little skeptical and didn’t know how I was going to like it and all that. After the visit, I talked to my parents. It was a fun time. It looks like a place where I could be at.”
Berry, who grew up in Newton, Kansas, didn’t know much about Minnesota before his visit.
“I knew the weather in Minnesota can be really cold and it can snow all of the time,” he said. “That was not really a huge factor. It was good to talk to coach Pitino a lot more and build a good relationship with him.”
Pitino told Berry that “nothing is guaranteed” when it comes to playing time, but that he saw the opportunity to contribute as a freshman. Berry sees his position at the next level being point guard, but his three-point shooting allows him to play off the ball as well.
“If I want to come in and play right away, I got to work and show I can compete at the highest level,” Berry said. “That’s how it’s going to be almost everywhere. But (Pitino) said he can see me coming in and making an impact if I put in the work.”
The Gophers have three scholarships available for the 2020 recruiting class. Their top target is Minnehaha Academy five-star combo guard Jalen Suggs, but he hasn’t scheduled a visit. The only other senior combo guard currently with plans for an official visit with Minnesota is Jamal Mashburn Jr. from Brewster Academy (N.H.) on October 5. Arizona Compass Prep 2021 guard Frankie Collins visited last week.
Northwestern (Aug. 9) and Minnesota were the first two official visits for Berry, who said he wants to take two more officials to Iowa State (Sept. 20) and Oklahoma State (Sept. 27) before deciding.
“I’ll probably let those visits play out and make a decision in October or November,” Berry said. “Probably sometime in the fall.”
After a breakout end of the summer with KC Run GMC’s AAU program, Berry’s looks forward to showing off more improvement for his final high school season. At Sunrise Christian, he’s roommates with four-star 2021 wing Kendall Brown, who transferred there this summer from East Ridge in Minnesota.
“He’s pretty solid,” Berry said of Brown. “I really hope to get pushed and get to another level. Just really the transition from high school to college is big, so I wanted to make sure I was ready for college when I get there. I felt like Sunrise Christian was good for me. You have one of the best prep schools in the country right down the road, so it was kind of hard to pass up.”
-- Three-star First Love Academy wing DJ Gordon narrowed down his list to six schools Wednesday, which includes the Gophers. The 6-6 Gordon, who also is considering Iowa, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Providence and VCU, plans to make an official visit to Minnesota on either Sept. 20 or Oct. 4 weekends.
Gordon told Rivals.com's Pittsburgh site Panther-Lair on the Gophers: "My coach and (assistant Rob) Jeter from Minnesota compare me to Amir Coffey, who is now with the LA Clippers ... He said we have similar games, athletic and can defend."