This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Source: Gophers point guard Justin Cobbs "probably" transferring

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under Gophers players Updated: April 15, 2010 - 12:29 PM

The Gophers men's basketball team will likely lose its second player this month.

Justin Cobbs will "probably" transfer, a person familiar with the situation told the Star Tribune Thursday.

Scout.com reported Thursday that Cobbs will transfer to a school that's closer to his home in California.

Cobbs, who averaged 2.1 points in 10.7 minutes per game as a freshman during the 2009-10 season, never seemed comfortable in Tubby Smith's system.

Plus, the Gophers have been searching for another point guard. The Gophers hope to sign Findlay Prep star Cory Joseph in the coming days.

Even if Joseph doesn't sign, Al Nolen will resume his role as starting point guard, assuming he fixes his academic issues. And the team won't hesitate to put Devoe Joseph at the point guard position, especially after he excelled down the stretch. There aren't a lot of scenarios that give Cobbs more minutes next season.

A person familiar with the situation said the Gophers are still pursuing Oto Osenieks, a 6-9 forward from Brehm Prep in Carbondale, Ill., and Michael Haynes, a 6-6 forward from Heat Academy in Martinsville, Va. Haynes is a two-star player on scout.com. Osenieks is not rated on either rivals.com or scout.com, but he's considered a late bloomer who landed on the radar following solid performances on the international scene.

Osenieks, who is originally from Latvia, will visit Minnesota Friday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Paul Carter, a junior forward who was expected to play a major role next season, recently decided to transfer to be closer to his little sister, who is currently battling cancer in Chicago.  

The Gophers have used three scholarships, after three players exhausted their eligibility, on this season's recruiting class (Elliott Eliason, Austin Hollins and Mo Walker). The team has three more scholarships to use, after the departures of Royce White, Carter and Cobbs. Signing Joseph would leave two scholarships open.

Via Twitter and Facebook, Cobbs, a former Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) star, talked about feeling homesick and wanting to leave Minnesota.

I figured he was on his way out the day before the Gophers lost to Xavier in the NCAA tournament last month.

While reporters talked to Minnesota players in their locker room, usually a great experience for young guys, Cobbs frowned while sitting on his stool. Didn't look like he wanted to be there, even though that was his first experience in the Big Dance. And I've sensed that vibe from him all season. My guess is that both parties will be happy with a transfer.

Now, the bigger questions. Should you be worried? Maybe.

There's still a chance that the Gophers will lock up Joseph and solidify their third consecutive nationally ranked recruiting class. But even if the prep star signs, the Gophers will need depth, the cornerstone of Smith's system.

Carter would have played a lot of minutes next season. Cobbs would have still played a reserve role, but he knows Smith's system, something Joseph will need time to comprehend, regardless of how good he is.

Nolen is expected to play next year, but he has to clear some academic hurdles.

Trevor Mbakwe will go to trial for a felony assault charge in June. Mbakwe is one of the most important players on the team right now. And the Gophers don't know if they'll have him for the 2010-11 season.

When I asked a person familiar with the situation about the possibility that White will return, he said, "Royce doesn't want to be a ball player."

And now, the young guys will have to contribute early. Eliason, Walker, Hollins and anyone else the team signs will have to be prepared to play next season.

This is going to be an interesting offseason. Wait a minute ... this is an interesting offseason.

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