Even as the signing period for 2017 recruits approaches later this fall (Nov. 9-16), much of the remaining summer will be about 2018 recruits for the Gophers. Minnesota’s coaching staff expects to snag two prospects for the 2017 class but the following year, the Gophers will have five more scholarships available to give with the eligibilities of Nate Mason, Bakary Konate, Gaston Diedhiou, Reggie Lynch and Davonte Fitzgerald all expiring.
The Gophers will have to address a few needs: if a point guard isn’t signed this fall, nabbing one for the 2018 class will likely be a priority. Otherwise, Minnesota will be in dire need of bodies in the post with all three big men (Konate, Diedhiou and Lynch) leaving simultaneously. Some experience could go a long way there, so don’t be surprised if the Gophers go the JUCO or graduate transfer route if intriguing possibilities open up. For now, Richard Pitino and Co. are honing in on a loaded group of local high school juniors who could fit in with the Gophers' pick-and-roll offense and the pressuring defensive style the fourth-year coach hopes to play.
Here’s a look at a few of Minnesota’s top targets:
Tre Jones – Just as it did with older brother Tyus, the hype surrounding this point guard is beginning to reach a fever pitch as he enters his junior season. Currently the 6-1 Tre Jones is ranked 54th in ESPN’s rankings for the class, but his game has time to develop yet. Jones stands out defensively and has exhibited an eye for passing lanes, much like his brother. Rumors that he’d like to attend college close to Tyus – who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves – give the Gophers a chance, but also like Tyus, the believed favorite suitor for Tre is Duke.
Race Thompson – The son of Darrell Thompson – the Gophers’ all-time leading rusher in football – the 6-8 Plymouth native’s athleticism is obvious, but Race Thompson is primed to show it off at the next level in a different sport. Thompson, who has also played football at Robbinsdale Armstrong, has enviable guard skills in a bigger frame, both of which could serve him well in the Big Ten. He also has offers from Iowa State, Kansas State, Marquette and Nebraska, among others.
Adam Trapp – It doesn’t take much guess work to understand why the Gophers – and other regional schools like Iowa, DePaul and Wisconsin – are interested in Trapp. At 7-2, he’s one of the tallest recruits to come out of Minnesota in a while. Trapp, who at 200 pounds still needs to do a lot of growing outwards, runs the floor well for his size and has a decent handle on the ball. The biggest learning curve will come in the Esko native learning to battle in the paint.
Jarvis Thomas-Omersa – The up-and-coming 6-7 St. Paul power forward is garnering interest from some mid-major schools along with Minnesota and Iowa State, in large part because of potential he shows as a shot-blocker who is developing some solid moves in the post.
Daniel Oturu – Minnesota offered the 6-9 power forward this spring, joining the likes of Northern Iowa, Providence and Creighton. The St. Paul native, at just over 200 pounds, is lean and still raw but has a natural athleticism that could bode well for his future.
Gabe Kalscheur – DeLaSalle in Minneapolis has produced some very talented basketball prospects the last several years and the trend continues with Kalscheur, who is a rising prospect in the 2018 class. The 6-4 guard is a true scorer with a quick release and accurate touch from the outside and the ability to get to the basket.
Jordan McCabe – The 5-11, four-star point guard from Wisconsin might be undersized but McCabe certainly has flash from three-point range and has drawn interest of some sort from more than 15 schools, including Iowa State, Michigan State, UCLA and Wisconsin.
Moses Brown -- Another four-star recruit, the 6-10 Brown has the size Minnesota needs and already looks comfortable around the basket. With a nice touch at the hoop and a bent for physical play, the Brooklyn star should blossom into a very strong recruit.