The point guard who Richard Pitino originally wooed at FIU could potentially soon be available to the Gophers.
Daquein McNeil -- a combo guard who was committed to Pitino at Florida International for next season -- is seeking a release from his letter of intent, according to Matt Bracken, a sports reporter at the Baltimore Sun, who tweeted the following.
Daquein McNeil, Bmore native @ Vermont Academy, will seek release from FIU. 3-star guard had signed w/ Richard Pitino, who's now @ Minnesota— Matt Bracken (@MattBracken) April 16, 2013
McNeil, a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com, is ranked just 93rd in the nation at his position by ESPN.com, but he clearly has some valued talents. Other than FIU, McNeil has received offers from Louisville, Oklahoma, Richmond, Rutgers, VCU and Washington according to ESPN.com.
The 6-3, 170-pound guard isn't a true point guard (meaning that the Gophers could be looking to use him elsewhere), but McNeil has a reputation for quickness and seeing the floor well, along with possessing great defensive potential.
Minnesota has four scholarships available after the de-commitments of both Alvin Ellis and Alex Foster.
- Newly named director of basketball operations Matt Balado is now a candidate for a new assistant coaching position at Florida International, our Michael Rand confirmed with a Minnesota official. FIU just hired former Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans as its new head coach, and Balado — an assistant at FIU under Pitino last year — is in the mix for a higher-ranking job on Evans’ staff. The Gophers wouldn't stand in Balado's way if he decided to pursue that opportunity, the official said.
- Minnesota officially announced former Gopher Ben Johnson as the newest member of Pitino's staff. "I have been impressed with what I have personally seen and heard from a variety of knowledgeable people when they talk about Ben Johnson," Pitino said in a news release. "In addition to being a proud Minnesota alum, he brings the work ethic I am looking for and a knowledge of the university, the Midwest and the Big Ten Conference."