He hasn’t officially visited anywhere else yet, but after his trip to the U of M campus last weekend, Cedric Hankerson said the University of Minnesota “definitely jumped to the top of my list.”
Where was it before?
“Well … before it rather like scrambled around but Minnesota definitely made a presence [over the weekend],” the 2013 recruit said.
The Miami native wasn’t QUITE impressed enough to commit right away – even though he has said an early decision is very possible. After all, he still has three, maybe four more schools to visit.
But the highlights stuck with him: the “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” campus; the Carlson School of Management (Hankerson wants to major in business); and his experience at TCF Bank for the Gophers football game on Saturday.
One sticking point? The weather, although it wasn’t as bad as he thought it might be, apparently holding the all-too-common perception that Minnesota is just snowy all the time.
“I thought I would be freezing because you know, Minnesota is traditionally cold,” Hankerson said. “I thought the weather would have a bad effect on me, but I really loved it. But I heard it gets like 30 below.”
All of the schools he’s selected for official visits – he has yet to visit Boston University, Virginia Tech and Pennsylvania – would present something of a weather shock, but of course Minnesota would be the worst in that department.
“Down in Miami it barely even goes below 80,” said Hankerson, who doesn’t own a winter coat. “The players tell me I’ll have to get a snow cap and all kinds of stuff. They told me the snow gets up to a couple feet.”
Some notes from our conversation:
· Besides his other three planned officials, Hankerson said he could add a fifth into the mix: Oklahoma State, a school that offered him recently and which he hasn’t been able to thoroughly research.
· Researching academic programs has been a big point for Hankerson, who is academically very bright and has been courted by Stanford and Brown.
· Of course everything needs to feel right, but two aspects his decision could come down to are how he likes the head coach and the quality of the business program, Hankerson said.
· Hankerson on Gophers’ coach Tubby Smith: “Tubby is a great guy. He’s extremely down to earth, he presents himself well, he didn’t seem to put too much pressure on me to commit, he just treated me really, really well overall. I just felt really comfortable with him.”
· Hankerson said he took a “couple hundred” pictures from the weekend, particularly of the campus (“I don’t know how to say it, but you could feel the culture around … It was just like a positive energy like it was just like that sort of traditional setting that I’m interested in.”) and the football stadium (“I didn’t know that the football team gets that much support at their games.”)
· The decision to commit somewhere could happen before all of the visits are completed, Hankerson said, but he won’t put a finger on what could make him do that. “Me and my parents have been making lists of advantages and disadvantages and we’ve been talking about it daily,” he said.
· Minnesota only started recruiting Hankerson this summer and offered him a couple months later, in August. “Tubby called me and offered me the scholarship and then I started doing a little research and found out about the Carlson School of Management and how good of a business school that is and I considered the fact that I would be playing in the Big Ten. So that jumped pretty high on my list.”
· Hankerson on the Big Ten: “The intensity of that conference in itself, playing schools like Michigan, Michigan State, it would just be pheonomenal, and then having those crazy games with all the fans going crazy, I think that’s like every basketball players’ dream.
- Hankerson is a 6-4, 195 guard from Miami, Florida. He plays for Coral Reef High School.
- Academically, Hankerson is very bright. He scored a 1750 on the SAT and 25 on the ACT.
- Defensively, Hankerson is solid. Offensively, has the ability to take over games.
- In his junior season, Hankerson averaged 22.9 points and 11.4 rebounds.
More from Star Tribune
More From Gold in the Barn
Failing to recognize top returning players from an 8-23 Minnesota team might not be all that surprising -- until you take a closer look.
Arkansas, a Gophers opponent this year at Williams Arena, has the SEC preseason player of the year with senior center Moses Kingsley
Junior center Reggie Lynch is progressing after knee surgery last month, but the Gophers basketball team is not going to rush him into a major role.
Indiana coach Tom Crean and Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said at Big Ten Media Day that the Gophers will be much improved this year
Gophers coach Richard Pitino talked at Big Ten Media Day about learning more about defense from Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau