Gophers coach Richard Pitino has posted another summer update on his blog on Gophersports.com now that most of the 2016-17 team is on campus. You can read the full post here.
A few of the highlights:
*Big man Reggie Lynch is still suspended, pending the completion of his criminal investigation. The University of Minnesota police confirmed the probe is still ongoing.
*Only Akeem Springs is still absent from campus. Springs, a graduate transfer from Milwaukee, is completing his degree. The guard will join the team this fall.
*The team has begun to host weekly speakers, starting with former Gopher basketball guard Walter Bond. Pitino told me earlier this month that he planned to bring in speakers to help foster a positive environment and address prior conduct issues. “I like the fact that our guys are taking ownership of the image of this program,” he said earlier this month. “I think they know what’s at stake and they’re excited to do that.” Pitino later tweeted that former Gopher John Thomas had stopped by as well. Next week, Pitino said in his blog, Sandra McDonald, a sex education expert that has worked with several NFL teams, will speak to the team.
*Pitino called this winter’s schedule “the toughest,” since he arrived. The non-conference slate includes St. John’s and Arkansas at home, Florida State on the road and – as the school announced last week – Vanderbilt at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls. Vanderbilt finished 19-14 in Kevin Stallings’ 16th season and made the NCAA tournament after topping Florida twice, Texas A&M and Kentucky, but lost to Wichita State, 70-50, in the opening round. The Gophers played at the Pentagon for the first time last year, falling to Oklahoma State, 62-60. The conference matchups for next year's Big Ten slate were recently announced as well. Find them here.
*The coach called freshman wing Michael Hurt a “gym rat,” and “one of the most focused guys in the weight room,” two characteristics I agree with after spending some time with him this summer. Pitino also said “no one puts more time in in the gym” than eligible transfer Davonte Fitzgerald.
*Pitino said freshman forward Eric Curry “reminds him of a taller version of [Jordan Murphy], last year's freshman standout and lauded his soft jump shot.
*Junior big man Bakary Konate has missed some time with a quad injury. “Nothing serious,” Pitino wrote.
*A new walk-on freshman has joined the team. Six-three Brady Rudrud, a guard, is “a very good facilitator,” Pitino said.