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.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Notes from Peach Jam: Tyus Jones, Reid Travis, other Gophers targets

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball Updated: July 15, 2013 - 3:03 PM

Over the weekend, I was lucky to get the awesome opportunity to head down to North Augusta, S.C., for this year’s EYBL Finals at the NIKE Peach Jam. With so many coaches, recruits and media members in one spot, there may not be a better venue for collecting information and catching everyone at once. From Thursday night through Saturday night, here are a few of the nuggets I picked up:

The Gophers’ main targets:

  • Two of the “Big Three” were there in Tyus Jones and Reid Travis. While Apple Valley’s Jones has long looked like a foregone conclusion to end up elsewhere, the sense is that Travis is seriously considering Minnesota. No doubt there are plenty of schools in play for DeLaSalle’s 6-7 power forward, but he is probably the most likely of the three to end up staying home. Former Robbinsdale Cooper guard Rashad Vaughn was in Philadelphia, playing in the Reebok Breakout Invitational, where the Minnesota staff flew to watch him a couple of times. With Vaughn transferring to Findlay Prep in Las Vegas last week, however, it certainly doesn’t help Minnesota’s chances of snagging him.
  • Looking ahead to 2015, there were two at the Peach Jam that the Gophers seem very interested in. DeLaSalle’s Jarvis Johnson, of course, plays for Howard Pulley and has come up behind Travis. Johnson is developing a long-range shot and is only getting better. What’s more, he seems really interested in Minnesota, whose new staff is jumping in at a very good time in his recruitment. New Gophers coach Richard Pitino wasted no time showing Johnson they’re serious, offering him a scholarship just days after getting the job – and that can only help as the interest in the point guard builds.
  • The other 2015 kid is Elijah Thomas, who plays for Team Texas Elite and goes to school at Prime
    Prep Academy in Dallas. The sense is that the Gophers are highly interested in the big man and are going after him hard. Thomas, who is ranked No. 9 in his class by Rivals and No. 5 by ESPN, is one of a handful of 2015 players that the Gophers have offered. The rising junior dominated during the regular EYBL season – even while battling a fractured finger – and didn’t slow down much at Peach Jam, averaging 12 points and 7.4 rebounds in five games. The 6-9 power forward has a great defensive presence and is very efficient in the paint. He could be a very interesting part of the Gophers’ frontcourt future.
     
  • There’s been substantial hype about Ja’Quan Newton since the Gophers started recruiting him after Pitino took the job. And down at the Peach Jam, the tough Philadelphia point guard did not disappoint. Newton looked nothing short of outstanding, aggressively going at the basket, going off for 30 points in one game and averaging 18 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds over his final five games at the Peach Jam. But the tidbit that has controlled the news lately is that he and five-star recruit Isaiah Whitehead are in talks about teaming up at the same college, wherever that might be. Currently, Minnesota – which seems to be very high on the pair – is on the list of programs that have offered both. That list, of course, is only growing now that the possibility of Newton and Whitehead being a package deal has emerged.

Other recruits the Gophers are after:

  • There are a few other point guards the Gophers have their eye on, and two of them were at Peach Jam. Alex Robinson (Arlington, Texas) might be one of the quieter interviews out there, but he is impressive as a floor general, passing with ease and knocking down shots. Robinson is ranked at No. 71 on Rivals and No. 89 on ESPN. Lourawls Nairn Jr. (Bel Aire, Kan.), is super quick and his instinctive passes can shake up defenses if they’re not ready for him. The 5-10, sturdy guard has offers from Arkansas, Creighton, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Mississippi and Oklahoma right now. Rivals has him at No. 61.
  • Others: Paul White – the Chicago power forward is drawing more attention and is up to No. 57 in ESPN national rankings now, but the 6-8 White has proven to be unlucky. In a Friday game against Howard Pulley, White went up to contest a Travis shot at the basket and fell awkwardly, gruesomely breaking his arm. Josh Cunningham – Though a bit undersized, the 6-7, 180-pound power forward isn’t afraid to claim his spot under the basket and get all over the boards. Terry Larrier – the Bronx forward doesn’t have the best court demeanor, but he does have plenty of skill, length and explosiveness. He’s getting plenty of offers, and he’s made it up to 59th in the country in ESPN rankings.

**Much more on these recruits to come in the days ahead**

A few other notes:

  • Two recruits that Minnesota could be easing up on: Tyler Ulis. While the Chicagoan was fantastic at the Peach Jam – dueling against Tyus Jones in one of the most fun matchups to watch on Friday – the word is that Ulis is close to committing to Michigan State. Also, Abdul Malik Abu – while the Gophers offered the power forward early, his recruitment was already pretty far along and now the field has only become more crowded – and it seems the Gophers are turning the bulk of their attention elsewhere.
  • I ran into former Gophers Tubby Smith, now at Texas Tech, on Friday. He said that he and his wife Donna were settling into a “warmer and dustier” home and reiterated that coaching at Minnesota is a much tougher job than most think.
  • Go here for all player stats from the Peach Jam.

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Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 FINAL
Washington 5
Boston 8 FINAL
Minnesota 9
Toronto 0 FINAL
Baltimore 5
Oklahoma City 105 FINAL
Chicago 108
Dallas 75 FINAL
Portland 94
Calgary 4 FINAL(SO)
Boston 3
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Washington 1
Toronto 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Dallas 4 FINAL(SO)
Florida 3
NY Islanders 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Vancouver 2 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 3
Montreal 3 FINAL(SO)
Los Angeles 4
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 83 FINAL
Bucknell 90
Western Ky 88 FINAL
Charlotte 84
Navy 62 FINAL
Colgate 72
Temple 70 FINAL
East Carolina 56
UAB 59 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 62
Boston Univ 64 FINAL
Lafayette 89
American Univ 68 FINAL
Lehigh 62
Wisconsin 76 FINAL
Minnesota 63
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Saint Peters 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
South Carolina 74
Morehead State 76 FINAL
UT Martin 65
USC Upstate 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
North Florida 71
Southern Ill 55 FINAL
Missouri State 48
Texas State 64 FINAL
Appalachian St 67
SC State 62 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 72
Delaware State 104 FINAL
Coppin State 92
Middle Tennessee 54 FINAL
FIU 59
Texas-Arlington 64 FINAL
Ga Southern 76
Norfolk State 80 FINAL
Hampton 69
NC A&T 58 FINAL
NC Central 69
Savannah State 57 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 72
Marshall 50 FINAL
Old Dominion 67
Rice 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 74
South Alabama 81 FINAL
Arkansas State 76
Alabama State 78 FINAL
Grambling St 46
Alabama A&M 54 FINAL
Jackson State 72
Sam Houston St 67 FINAL
Lamar 61
Georgia State 58 FINAL
ULM 50
Central Arkansas 70 FINAL
Nicholls 77
Portland State 51 FINAL
Northern Ariz 58
Southern U 77 FINAL
Prairie View 73
Alcorn State 73 FINAL
Texas Southern 94
Houston Baptist 72 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 85
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Louisiana 75
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
New Orleans 85
California 60 FINAL
Arizona 99
Memphis 54 FINAL
Connecticut 53
VA Commonwealth 55 FINAL
Davidson 82
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Sacramento St 65 FINAL
Southern Utah 69
Northwestern St 66 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 92
North Texas 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 83
Colorado 64 FINAL
Washington 47
Idaho 63 FINAL
Weber State 74
Abilene Christian 52 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Eastern Wash 85 FINAL
Idaho State 81
Marist 80 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Eastern Ill 64 FINAL
Belmont 97
Bradley 52 FINAL
Drake 50
Cal State Fullerton 62 FINAL
UC Irvine 68
CS-Northridge 58 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
UC Riverside 59 FINAL
UC Davis 61
Stanford 62 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Utah 67 FINAL
Washington St 59
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
UCLA 80
FIU 30 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
Florida Atlantic 56 FINAL
UAB 59
NC A&T 67 FINAL
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Virginia Tech 51 FINAL
Pittsburgh 45
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Gardner-Webb 70 FINAL
Radford 56
Georgia 75 FINAL
Missouri 64
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Ark-Little Rock 68 FINAL
Louisiana 66
South Alabama 60 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 73 FINAL
Lamar 92
SE Louisiana 75 FINAL
New Orleans 84
Northwestern St 45 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 56
Alabama A&M 58 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Alabama State 68 FINAL
Grambling 62
Southern U 78 FINAL
Prairie View 50
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Texas Southern 73
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 54 FINAL
Mercer 75
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Incarnate Word 62
La Salle 60 FINAL
Rhode Island 65
Illinois 71 FINAL
Nebraska 86
TX-San Antonio 60 FINAL
Rice 49
Valparaiso 55 FINAL
Oakland 70
Missouri State 65 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Georgia Tech 64 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 84
Charlotte 72 FINAL
Western Ky 80
Texas-El Paso 69 FINAL
North Texas 61
Wichita State 77 FINAL
Evansville 63
Loyola-Chicago 64 FINAL
Northern Iowa 69
Bradley 70 FINAL
Drake 86
Presbyterian 62 FINAL
High Point 75
Vanderbilt 61 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 67
Colorado 75 FINAL
USC 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Pacific 64
Idaho State 58 FINAL
Eastern Washington 62
Weber State 42 FINAL
Idaho 71
Purdue 78 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 66
Long Beach St 60 FINAL
CS-Northridge 77
Hawaii 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 36
UC Davis 56 FINAL
UC-Riverside 61
Northern Ariz 79 FINAL
Portland State 62
Southern Utah 73 FINAL
Sacramento St 107
Utah 64 FINAL
Washington 75
BYU 65 FINAL
St Marys-CA 64

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