Recruiting never stops. That’s what coaches like to say, especially when they have scholarships to offer.
With one remaining scholarship in the 2018 class, Richard Pitino has been open to the possibility of adding another player to his roster for this upcoming season.
Currently, there are six newcomers on the 2018-19 team with three freshmen (Daniel Oturu, Jarvis Omersa, Gabe Kalscheur) and three transfers (Marcus Carr, Payton Willis, Brock Stull).
The more the merrier, right. Maybe, if they can find the right fit.
CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Wednesday that Minnesota and Maryland were interested in Kansas transfer Sam Cunliffe, who announced recently he was leaving the Jayhawks.
A source confirmed to the Star Tribune that the U has serious interest in Cunliffe, who has two years remaining but needs to sit this year. The 6-foot-6 former starting wing at Arizona State, though, told the Seattle Times he wanted to be closer to home. The Seattle native is meeting with Washington Huskies soon.
“I’m definitely looking at,” Cunliffe said in the Times article. “I’ll see if I can figure something out with them.”
The Huskies have an open scholarship, but it's not for certain that they take him. If that doesn’t work out Cunliffe could consider other programs like Minnesota.
Another possible 2018 candidate was 6-7, 210-pound forward Nathan Johnson from Waukee, Iowa.
Johnson was likely heading to Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) and reclassifying to the 2019 class. But at one point, he heard from Boston College, Dayton, Loyola-Chicago and Minnesota about possibly entering college in the fall.
Johnson said Thursday the Ramblers are currently the only school still considering him for 2018.
“Some schools were toying with the possibility of 2018, because of how well I played this summer,” Johnson told the Star Tribune. “Minnesota is on me only for 2019 now.”
Johnson, who played for Kingdom Hoops in AAU ball, is primarily a shooter, but his athleticism to play both forward positions also impressed Power Five schools this summer, including the Gophers, Nebraska, Gonzaga and Stanford. No offers yet, but Johnson is on their radar for sure.
Despite no longer a 2018 option, Johnson hopes to remain in contact with the Gophers for their next recruiting class. He was invited to the U’s team camp at the new Athletes Village facility in June.
“It definitely would be amazing to play in the Big Ten,” Johnson said. “The new facilities up there were great when I went up there for their camp. I was definitely blown away by the new facilities. And the coaching staff was great, so it seems like they’re going in a good direction up there.”