When you get an email at 3:49 a.m., you know you're dealing with a serious situation.
Connie Joseph, the mother of Gophers combo guard Devoe Joseph, reached out to me Tuesday morning.
She's traveled here from Canada to be with her son, who's preparing to transfer. She said she's convinced that her son will not change his mind.
"The decision to transfer, it’s a difficult decision," she said during a phone call Tuesday. "It’s not a good situation. … It’s not something that’s taken lightly and it’s a difficult thing to do. Having said that, it’s something that Devoe has [decided to do]."
Her view of the events leading up to Monday's news varies from what sources close to the team told the Star Tribune Monday.
Connie Joseph said her son has pondered his decision for a long time. But after the team's loss at Michigan State Friday, he told his mother that he felt like it was time to go.
Connie Joseph would not discuss the reasons behind her son's decision.
She said Devoe Joseph called Tubby Smith before the team's next practice and informed him of his decision to leave the program. Connie Joseph said her son skipped practice over the weekend because "once you've made this difficult decision, the best thing is just to move forward."
She said her son isn't suspended, as some outlets reported, but has decided to leave the team.
"No, there’s [no turning back]," she said Tuesday. "I'm going with him [Tuesday] morning to pick up his release papers. He wishes the team well. It’s a tough thing."
She added: "I don’t expect anything to change."
Connie Joseph said her son doesn't know where he's going yet. But she supports him, although she's shocked by the recent sequence of events. Just three years ago, Devoe Joseph was the top recruit in Smith's first recruiting class with the Gophers.
"I’m extremely, extremely surprised … really disappointed," said a sobbing Connie Joseph. "Devoe had dreams of playing for the Gophers."
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From the Gophers’ perspective, any game they can gut out or steal is a big victory.
Through five games, Nebraska Omaha is playing at the third fastest pace in Division I college basketball. (And one of the Mavericks top players is a former Chaska star.)
The Gophers have collected 48 fouls in the last two games, and foul trouble contributed to Minnesota’s 81-68 loss to Texas Tech on Sunday.
The question now is whether Minnesota can move past a bad long weekend and pick up some steam through the rest of this month and next – or whether a not-so-easy slate between now and New Year's will put the Gophers on the path toward the basement.
The Gophers are young and inexperienced and while the future may be bright, the present is tenuous, at best.