Richard Pitino couldn't say much about Reggie Lynch and Akeem Springs all summer.
Lynch was suspended while a university investigation ran its course. Springs was finishing summer classes to graduate from Wisconsin-Milwaukee, his former school.
But Lynch and Springs are both with the Gophers in workouts now. Pitino talked about his expectations for them and the team in his new blog on Wednesday.
"I expect both to make an immediate impact," Pitino wrote. "Both Reggie and Akeem should play major minutes."
Both players should be in the starting lineup when they make their Gophers debut in an exhibition game against Bemidji State on Nov. 3.
Even before the 6-foot-10, 260-pound Lynch was reinstated last week, Pitino talked about him basically being the Gophers' savior at center. I witnessed first hand how dominant he was against Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou in practices.
Lynch established himself as one of the nation's top shot blockers in two years at Illinois State. But the Edina native worked on improving as an inside scoring and rebounding presence while sitting out last season after transferring. He could be one of the top centers in the Big Ten if he stays healthy after recovering from rotator cuff surgery in February.
"Reggie catches everything down low," Pitino wrote. "He has a very unorthodox but effective offensive game, as well as great shot blocking timing."
The 6-4, 210-pound Springs is still waiting to be given the green light to play right away as a grad transfer. It might not be until next month when all the paperwork goes through the NCAA process. The Waukegan, Ill. native started his career off at Northern Illinois, went to junior college briefly (didn't play) and spent two years at Milwaukee. He passed his summer classes and is currently enrolled in grad school at the U.
Springs, who averaged 13 points and five rebounds in 32 minutes last season, brings experience, leadership and toughness to a team that lacked a lot of that last season. He's capable of playing guard or small forward. He can get this team some baskets inside, slash to the rim and defend multiple spots.
"I am very excited about Akeem Springs!" Pitino wrote. "When I explain certain things to him in practice he picked it up like a pro. He's older, experienced and has a Big Ten-ready body."
What's interesting about these two players is that they bonded on Springs' visit to Minnesota in the spring before he committed. You can see how cool they are now with Springs posing in a picture with Lynch and Northwestern forward Sanjay Lumpkin below.