Nate Mason was the first Gophers men's basketball player to be All-Big Ten first team last season since Vincent Grier in 2005. But both Jordan Murphy and Amir Coffey had their stretches being the team's best player.
Coffey had the best freshman debut for a Gopher since Kris Humphries in 2003-04, leading the team in scoring early in nonconference play. The highlight was a 30-point explosion in the win against St. John's. The 6-8 former Hopkins standout gave Pitino his second straight all-league freshman, after Murphy in 2015-16.
Murphy's stretch at the end of the Big Ten regular season earned him All-Big Ten third-team honors. He was a double-double machine during Minnesota's eight-game win streak. Coffey and Murphy clearly have All-Big Ten talent, but can they establish themselves as the best at their positions in the conference this year? If so, that could help Minnesota be right in the mix with Michigan State for the league title.