Jamal Mashburn Jr. could become the second four-star prospect to commit to Gophers coach Richard Pitino in the 2020 recruiting class.
Mashburn, the son of the former Kentucky and NBA standout, said he would announce his college decision between Cal and Minnesota on Monday afternoon. The Gophers are the favorite to land him.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Brewster Academy (N.H.) senior guard visited Minnesota’s campus officially for the second time earlier this month. Jamal Mashburn Sr. played for Rick Pitino at Kentucky in the early 1990s, but the relationship between their sons eventually developed beyond that player-coach bond that lasted years later.
“I’ve been interested in the school. I’ve been interested in the (Gophers) program,” Mashburn Jr. told the Star Tribune. “With Richard Pitino, there’s obviously a family-type bond to that, but that doesn’t really matter as far as picking schools and as far as what’s important for me.”
Mashburn is a consensus top-100 prospect and ranked highest at 84th overall and the 10th best combo guard in the 2020 class by 247Sports.com. He grew up in Miami and played his first two years of high school basketball at Gulliver Prep in Florida. Richard Pitino started recruiting the young Mashburn during his sophomore season.
“The whole family bond thing has stayed the same throughout it all,” Mashburn Jr. said. “I feel like it hasn’t really changed. It doesn’t really play a role in my decision making and it doesn’t play a role in how I go about things. They still have to do their recruiting. I’m not just going to walk in their because he’s Rick Pitino’s son and my dad. This was for me and I wanted to go through the process. I have gone through the process.”
Mashburn said the Gophers told him they need another combo guard like him who can help run their offense and be a scoring threat from beyond the arc. At the Nike Peach Jam this summer, he averaged 20.8 points and shot 46.9 percent from three-point range for the PSA Cardinals from New York.
“They need scoring and somebody who can stretch the floor,” Mashburn Jr. said. “They need someone who can shoot the ball, defend and lead a team. Those are the things they need. Lot of programs might want me, but do they have a need for me? That separates them from other programs. There’s a need, and I know with the right opportunity I can make something happen.”
The Gophers have two scholarships available for the 2020 class after 6-10 four-star Chicago Heights Bloom forward Martice Mitchell committed to the U last week.