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Minnesota target Jimmy Whitt looking to add bulk, hone point guard skills, focus on defense

  • Blog Post by: Amelia Rayno
  • May 20, 2014 - 9:44 AM

Jimmy Whitt isn't the biggest guard you'll come across in the 2015 class -- but his slender, 6-2 frame has started catching eyes.

Since the Jayhawk Invitational in Kansas during an open recruiting period last month, Whitt's fearless slashing game as been on full display, and coaches have taken notice.

"I feel like I came out and had a real good performance and coaches saw," Whitt said of the AAU tournament in late April. "I think it's a testament to the hard work I've been putting in that coaches are starting to see and starting to recruit me harder."

The recent attention only adds motivation to gain weight, one of Whitt's biggest priorities for the summer. Several of the coaches recruiting him have told him it's a necessity.

The Columbia, Missouri native doesn't have a specific weight goal but generally wants to spend a lot of time in the weight room and add bulk. He's working with a personal trainer for the summer with that approach in mind.

"The biggest thing is physicality-wise, playing strong, trying to play against bigger guys, because at the next level, guys are going to be bigger and stronger," Whitt said.

Whitt doesn't have any visits scheduled yet for the summer. The rising senior has previously made unofficial trips to Kansas State, Kansas, Arkansas and Creighton.

He said he's just beginning to develop a relationship with Minnesota's Richard Pitino, who has told him he envisions him as a combo guard, capable of playing point guard or shooting guard. Whitt says he feels equally comfortable in those positions.

Apart from honing his point guard skills and adding pounds, Whitt wants to continue to focus on his defensive abilities, he said, at Pitino's beckoning.

"He just loves the way I play, how I'm a leader on the court, on the offensive and defensive end and he feels like with some hard work in college I could be a great defensive player -- not just a good one but a great one," he said.

Whitt's recruitment is still somewhat new, so theoretically the Gophers could have as good a chance as anyone. Most players' decisions come down to relationships, but Whitt said the academic considerations will play a big role as well. One other thing perhaps in Minnesota's favor when it comes to Whitt, who hopes to major in business? The Carlson School of management, one of the premiere business programs in the nation. Minnesota players Andre Hollins and Elliott Eliason are currently enrolled in the Carlson school.

"To see that somebody else can do it it gives you a lot of confidence knowing that if they can do it, there's no reason that you shouldn't be able to go in there and do it," Whitt said.

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