Minnesota coach Richard Pitino is expected to see Rochester John Marshall five-star senior forward Matthew Hurt on Thursday for the second time after an in-home visit last week, a source familiar with the situation told the Star Tribune.
Pitino, who was in Kansas on Wednesday checking out his newly committed four-star Sunrise Christian forward Tray Jackson, is definitely making sure the Gophers prioritize Hurt as much as any program recruiting him.
How much of a difference will that make, with Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas and others making trips to Rochester for face time since the contact period began Sept. 9?
That’s something only time will tell. It surely doesn't hurt. And it sends a strong message.
Hurt, though, has not scheduled any official visits and doesn’t appear to be in any rush to announce his finalists right now. He’s working on a different timetable than the typical process, but Hurt’s in a position as a top-10 talent in his class to be patient if he wants to.
In a few weeks, Hurt will be joining the top 80 players in the country at the USA junior national team's first minicamp next month in Colorado Springs.
Hurt’s older brother, Michael, meanwhile will be getting things going soon with Minnesota’s first practice of the 2018-19 college hoops season next Tuesday. The 6-foot-7 junior forward will get a chance to show how much his hard work this offseason has paid off.
“I’m excited for him,” Matthew said this summer. “I think this is going to be a really big year for him. I think it’s going to be his breakout year. He’s worked so hard in the gym and the weight room. I know he has that mindset to take over games, because I’ve seen it in high school. He’s always had that mindset. Personally, I think he’s going to be one of the most underrated players in the Big Ten and nationally, too.”
Matthew has been training with Michael every summer since before they were teammates in high school, including in Santa Barbara for a week last month. So he knows better than anyone how much his big bro has improved since entering college.
“Since he’s got to college, he’s gotten a lot stronger and a lot quicker,” Matthew said. “He can really defend now and defend multiple positions. He’s always in the gym putting up shots. He also developed the little things that coaches see, but most people don’t see. I think the little things he does separates him.”
Michael's got two more years in college, so he's talked about wanting to play with his younger brother. You can bet Pitino is using that angle as much as he can in chats with the Hurt family over the last week. At the least, the Gophers probably will get an official visit from Matthew, but nothing is set up yet.
-- Next up for Gophers official visits scheduled right now is Pebblebrook High School (Ga.) big man Jared Jones on Oct. 6. Jones, who visited Northwestern last weekend, is also reportedly set to make a trip to Wake Forest this weekend and Georgia on Sept. 28 before coming to the Twin Cities.
-- After landing Jackson last week, Minnesota hosted Breck forward David Roddy over the weekend. Roddy enjoyed his official visit to the home state program, but he’s not ready to make a decision. His Oct. 13 visit to Northwestern still planned.
-- On Wednesday, Pitino was also invited to check out where his new assistant Kyle Lindsted grew up in Wichita. Lindsted introduced his boss to the family buffalo. Yes, it was seriously a buffalo, as Pitino tweeted a pic for proof.
When you hire a guy from Kansas you get to stop by and meet his family’s pet buffalo when you recruit in Kansas. No, I’m not kidding. pic.twitter.com/ZGkflqjDX5— Richard Pitino (@CoachPitinoMN) September 19, 2018