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Continued: Hartman: Gophers' Smith, Gators' Donovan familiar foes

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 24, 2013 - 7:13 AM

I have been watching Gophers basketball for a long, long time, and without a doubt Williams was the best basketball player who ever wore the maroon and gold. There was nothing he couldn’t do and he continued his great play for 10 years in the NBA.

There was a period of three years where some of the best Gophers players in history came through Minneapolis, most of them brought in by the late Bill Musselman.

The 1976-77 Gophers lineup consisted of Mychal Thompson at center, Williams and Kevin McHale at forward, and Flip Saunders and Ozzie Lockhart at guard. Williams averaging 18.9 points and 6.6 rebounds over two seasons with Minnesota.

That team, which went 24-3 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten, was coached by Jim Dutcher, and they would have won any number of national titles had the program and Musselman not got in trouble with the NCAA.

SID’S JOTTINGS

• Gophers men’s hockey coach Don Lucia has been named coach of the 2014 U.S. national junior hockey team.

• Greg Childs, the 2012 fourth-round draft choice by the Vikings who injured both of his knees before the season started and never played, is at Winter Park every day getting treated by trainer Eric Sugarman. But it’s no sure thing that the receiver will be able to play again.

• On the recent signing by the Vikings of Greg Jennings, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said: “You didn’t want to see him go [to] the Minnesota Vikings but he was in a clear-cut business decision. When you are there, you do what is best for you and your family. I respect what he has done. I will let the smoke clear, and I’m sure we will talk in the near future.”

• Gophers AD Norwood Teague has hired another one of his Virginia Commonwealth staff, adding Corrie Sears, who was in charge of advertising and promotions for all 16 VCU sports programs. Before joining VCU, Sears spent four years as director of marketing at Nebraska.

• In helping 14th-seeded Harvard beat third-seeded New Mexico, giving the Crimson its first NCAA tournament victory in school history, former Hopkins guard Siyani Chambers played all 40 minutes, went 2-for-5 from the floor for five points and led the team with seven assists. Former DeLaSalle standout Jonah Travis also got into the game, scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds in eight minutes of action. Harvard was ousted by Arizona on Saturday.

• Some time ago, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez made a statement that Big Ten football teams need to play a stronger nonconference schedule. Well Alvarez has booked one tough foe when the Badgers open the 2015 season against Alabama in the Dallas Cowboys stadium.



 

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  • Though this is Tubby Smith’s first game coaching against Florida since joining the Gophers, he is plenty familiar with the Gators and coach Billy Donovan’s program from his time at Kentucky. Donovan won his past six games against Smith’s Wildcats before Smith left Kentucky to lead the Gophers in 2007.

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