VANCOUVER – Eric Curry was the only Gopher on the trip not able to play in the Vancouver Showcase, but he’s been a valuable presence in a different capacity.
The 6-foot-9 redshirt sophomore is out at least another two weeks after having surgery on his previously injured left knee before the season. Curry was acting as a coach on the sidelines with freshman center Daniel Oturu, who has replaced him in the starting lineup in the first three games this year.
Curry even talked to Oturu during timeouts in Sunday’s 69-64 win against Texas A&M.
“That’s the type of mentorship Eric provides and that Daniel needs,” senior forward Jordan Murphy said. “That’s something really valuable that Eric brings to the team, even when he’s not playing. It’s something we really enjoy from him and really like from him.”
Curry missed last season because of torn ligaments and meniscus in his left knee. He was cleared to play and started in the Oct. 20 scrimmage at Creighton, but he was sidelined again a week later after an MRI revealed cartilage damage with swelling in his knee.
Curry’s rehab is going on schedule, so the Gophers are hoping their frontcourt will be at full strength by the time Big Ten play begins in early December against Ohio State and Nebraska.
The Gophers no longer have any players from Richard Pitino’s first full recruiting class, but there was a player from that 2014 class on the floor Tuesday in the Vancouver Showcase.
Santa Clara redshirt senior forward Josh Martin joined Nate Mason, Bakary Konate, Gaston Diedhiou and Carlos Morris as newcomers going into Pitino’s second year in 2014-15. Martin transferred after averaging 1.3 points in five minutes in seven games.
After three seasons at Cal Poly, the Seattle native ended up at Santa Clara as a graduate transfer this season. He was averaging 4.7 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds in three games as a starting power forward entering Tuesday’s game.