This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Smith says locker room dancing was just a spontaneous thing

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under Gophers players, Tubby Smith Updated: February 16, 2013 - 7:24 PM

Tubby Smith wasn’t in on it.

Apparently, this is just the Gophers coach’s reaction to a much-needed win, some locker room fun and, hey, a catchy song.

In the locker room video that’s gone viral, Smith appeared to instigate a dance party to Ke$ha’s “Die Young,” a meaningful song based on the matchup.

Smith led with a nice solo breakdown, which was promptly followed by an excited team jumping and dancing.

“He surprised me,” Andre Hollins said. I didn’t know what was going on.”

Smith had been giving his postgame talk when assistant coach Vince Taylor yelled “Hit it,” Hollins said.

The head coach took off immediately shimmying side to side to the glee of his players.

“You don’t really see that side of coach too often, so when it happened, I think everybody was kind of shocked, so everybody just kind of went a little crazy in there with him,” Rodney Williams said.

Trevor Mbakwe took it a step further, lifting his coach off the ground and THROWING HIM OVER HIS SHOULDER IN A FIREMAN’S CARRY.

When I asked Smith whether Donna (his wife) got nervous when she saw that in the video, Smith shook his head.

“I freaked out,” he said. “That’s what I was more concerned -- that he would drop me on my head or something. But he’s a pretty strong guy!”

Said Williams: “We like to see coach happy like that, and in order to see him happy like that, we’ve got to keep winning. So, we’re going to come in every day with the same mindset, we’re going to come in like we’re on a losing streak to work every day. We’re just going to keep coming going out there and playing hard so maybe you guys will get a couple more videos of coach dancing.”

Other notes from tonight’s access:

  • Williams said his shoulder was feeling “about the same,” after getting fouled hard in the Wisconsin game. “The trainers and the doctors said it’s an injury that’s going to take a while to get over,” he said. “So we’re just going to have to keep taking it day by day. I’ve been getting treatment and icing it a lot, so hopefully it gets better sooner rather than later.”
  • Smith on simplifying the offense, both in the Wisconsin game and going forward. “We do a lot of things and we didn’t do many of them well, so I think if we can just narrow it down, limit what we’re dong and just play basketball – I think we’re better off if we can just keep it simple. And that’s what I think we tried to do with Dre and with the rest of the players.
  • Smith contemplated switching up the lineup for the Wisconsin game, and named Coleman as a player that could potentially come off the bench in that situation. Ultimately, he started Coleman along with his normal five. “It was just searching to see what was available and how we could respond or how we could change,” he said. “But in that situation, Joe was probably our most versatile player on the court … That’s why I like Joe, he can make things happen for us, just like he did in the game the other day.”

 

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