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
Well folks, the Gophers are four games -- and four wins -- into a so-far promising season, but that doesn't mean things are smooth enough to be boring!
After putting together a strong second half yesterday, the Gophers were able to overcome some earlier mistakes, but they have plenty of challenges ahead with Duke, Memphis or VCU and another team from the deep Battle 4 Atlantis field. We'll know so much more a week from now.
Bring your questions, bring your concerns ... and could someone bring me a coffee? I won't be getting much sleep tonight because I'm heading to the Bahamas at the crack of dawn tomorrow!
Gophers freshman Wally Ellenson broke his left hand in practice on Tuesday and will miss 6-8 weeks, head coach Tubby Smith said Wednesday.
Ellenson broke a bone along the middle finger his hand in a rebounding drill, when he caught it in a teammate's jersey and bent it backward. Smith said it was a clean break and will not need to be pinned.
Smith said the team could consider redshirting the freshman.
“He was playing well and he probably wasn’t going to be, but it’s going to be something that we’re going to probably consider at this juncture,” Smith said.
Ellenson is a 6-4 guard from Rice Lake, Wis. The Gophers open exhibition play Thursday night at Williams Arena against Minnesota State.
Other notes from Wednesday's media access:
Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said Thursday at Big Ten media day in Chicago that he expects his son, Saul Smith, to coach this season.
Saul Smith, an assistant coach, is on unpaid leave after a DUI arrest in the Twin Cities last weekend.
"You drink and drive, you have a problem: a decision-making problem," Tubby Smith said Thursday of Saul's arrest.
Tubby Smith said he allowed AD Norwood Teague to lead the charge on the punishment because the head coach was too close to the situation.
"We just can't have behavior like that," Teague said Monday of the DUI arrest, which according to police came after Smith was pulled over on I-394 early Saturday morning. "It's just not good for anyone, it's embarrassing and I won't tolerate it.
Teague said at the time he was not sure whether Smith will remain suspended until his Dec. 3 court date, though he reiterated the suspension is "indefinite." He said the university is still evaluating the situation.
"As far as just cause to fire [Saul Smith], we're evaluating everything that's going on now," Teague said. "Being on administrative leave and being unpaid is a pretty good penalty."
Smith also talked about Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe on Thursday. Mbakwe is attempting to come back from both a torn ACL and a DUI arrest of his own in July which triggered a probation violation hearing last Friday and added more probation to an existing offense.
Smith said Mbakwe has his life under control mentally and physically and called him a "fine young man." But Smith remained vague about how the team punished Mbakwe over the summer. Teague said Monday that he expects Mbakwe to play in the Gophers' season-opener Nov. 9.
The season officially kicks off tomorrow, you guys, and there is plenty to discuss: Trevor Mbakwe's return, Mo Walker's return, new potential lineups, strengths and weaknesses, the freshmen, Rodney Williams, Andre Hollins' development, new athletic director Norwood Teague, you name it.
Also, just because the season is starting doesn't mean there isn't a lot swirling around with recruiting, so let's talk about that too.
I start chatting at noon, but leave your questions now so I can jump right in!
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