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

aMAILiaBAG: Will the Gophers get ANY 2014 recruits? Ranking the targets, talking next season and dissecting new bigfoot encounters

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: September 13, 2013 - 12:23 PM

aMAILiaBAG is a regular installment on this blog. If you have a question, send it to or reply to me on Twitter @AmeliaRayno with the hashtag #aMAILiaBAG. Your questions in bold, below; my responses in regular type.

Is it just me or is it a little concerning #gophers haven't gotten one recruit they have targeted?



Are the Gophs going to get any of these recruits? 

-Impatient fan


[Dang] the recruiting is not going as well as I had hoped...we seem to be losing a lot of them??


Seriously, bonehead, no cursing here. Don’t be a bonehead.

Anyway, you all bring up my most favorite question from readers. OK, that last sentence was heavily laced with sarcasm, but in any case, that question certainly is the most common one that I’m getting these days. I got many of these, so I’m just going to answer you all together. OK? OK.

A couple months ago, new coach Richard Pitino was undyingly popular with the fan base, simply because he was going after a TON of elite recruits and seemed to be garnering some interest in return – with a good handful even placing Minnesota on their short lists. No coaching staff will ever be satisfied with moral victories, sure – but many of you guys seem to have forgotten that the current situation, even without a single commitment for 2014, already denotes program improvement.

You didn’t expect this to be easy, did you? While Pitino obviously has a strong blood line and background and has brought early excitement to Minnesota, he still has a lot to prove at this level. Minnesota, while bearing a new, incredibly ambitious facilities plan for the future, is still lacking in that regard. Recent history and overall history of success are not on the Gophers side, in comparison with some other schools. Expecting four-star recruits to immediately flock to the Twin Cities following the coaching change is simply unrealistic. At the same time, while some of the guys that have slipped through Minnesota’s fingers recently have surprised me (namely, JP Macura and Ja’Quan Newton), they Gophers are far from being desperate. In fact, just the fact that many have been surprised by some of these recruits not picking Minnesota speaks to the Gophers’ impressive job on the trail so far.

Do the #Gophers have a legit chance at @Reid_Travis_22


I do still think that the Gophers have a chance at Travis, although Duke recently offering the DeLaSalle power forward doesn’t help things any. Travis officially listed a top seven recently, and included Minnesota – so don’t count them out. But I’d say watching whether Travis decides to use one of his official visits on the ‘U’ will be telling.

Glad to have you back Amelia. Can you do another recruiting power rankings like before with current updates? #aMAILiabag


Why do you guys always make me do this? Do you just enjoy laughing at me when I’m wrong? But you asked nicely so Here. We. Go. (Because I’ve had such success with this so far – for those of you who forgot, I will humbly remind you that I had JP Macura at the top of the list last time …). Remember, these are in order of likelihood of happening.

1. Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn – Might Tum Tum be the point guard of the future for the Gophers? He’s down to three and Minnesota is one of them. Unfortunately, Big Ten giant Indiana is in that group as well …
2. Josh Martin – The power forward seems to genuinely like Pitino and has his official visit planned.
3. Isaiah Whitehead – He’s making his way to campus, anyway, next week, which I would say is a very positive sign. Do the Gophers have a chance? The crystal ball says yes. A five-star at Minnesota? That would stop your whining pretty quickly, wouldn’t it?
4. Paul White – The main competition will be Georgetown (where the Chicago wing is on an official visit this weekend), but I think the bright White is intrigued by Minnesota.
5. Josh Cunningham – It’s a little bit hard to get a feel for what Cunningham is thinking, but an official is likely.
6. Abdoulaye Gueye – the Gophers have made their case. But is the Africa native, Birmingham resident really going to come to snowy Minnesota?
7. Reid Travis – I think this Duke offer to the DeLaSalle power forward could be quite problematic for the Gophers and every other school in the mix.
8. Josh Gray – It’s hard to tell anything yet with the junior college point guard, but it’s someone to keep an eye on pending Tum Tum’s decision.
9. Marial Shayok – It’s still wide open with the wing, but it seems like the Gophers are pretty interested.
10. Rashad Vaughn – I don’t think this is happening folks. The eagle has left the nest. I repeat, the eagle has left the nest.

You'll notice Tyus Jones is not listed.

With Pitino praising Mav, and Dre Mathieu coming in, do you see Andre playing more 2 this year with Austin at 3? #aMAILiaBAG


Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pitino does have Dre Hollins playing more at the shooting guard spot, since we’ve all witnessed that the 2 seems to be the more natural and beneficial role for him. The key will be if Pitino thinks that either Ahanmisi or Mathieu are ready to take the role over. If he is tentative about that, you might see Hollins start the year at floor general until Pitino can get a chance to test the other floor general options a little more. And I like Austin at the 3-spot. I think his athleticism will serve well in that role.

Any reason why transfer with instant playing time was denied [for Rakeem Buckles]? Why didn't he qualify like other transfer?


Well unfortunately, I can’t completely get inside the NCAA’s head (Or do I really want to be there? It seems like it could be a scary place), but the word is that grades were of significant concern. Beyond that, there might have been more than meets the eye. As anyone in the know will tell you, no two waivers are the same, even if the reasoning seems like it on the surface (such as the case with Buckles and Malik Smith, who successfully received his waiver to play immediately after transferring from Florida International). It’s a big blow for Minnesota.

With Rakeem Buckles’ waiver to play immediately being denied by the NCAA, the eligibility of Joey King for this year becomes very important.  Any updates on this? 


That’s a good point, Jim, and oddly, news has been awfully slow on this matter. Obviously Smith got his waiver months ago, so I’m not sure what the hold up is. The University is no longer saying anything on the matter, so I don’t know if the waiver has even been submitted yet on his behalf (as of early August, it wasn’t yet) or if the Gophers are simply waiting on the NCAA. It does seem a bit concerning, however, that it has taken this long. This might be one of the more underrated storylines out there as the Gophers’ frontcourt is already incredibly thin – not having King available would really hurt the Gophers.

What realistic expectations can see with Buggs? I think he could be a real X factor this season. #aMAILiaBAG


It's hard to say since we haven't seen him in live game situations, other than a pair of exhibition games against substandard competition at the beginning of last season. I like what he's done in the offseason, packing some much-needed pounds on his thin frame, which will certainly be critical if he ends up having to step in as power forward (especially if King is not available to play right away). And Pitino has said that he thinks with his frame and tools, he has perhaps the greatest upside of anyone on the team. But he also has a long ways to go. While at times Buggs impresses, Pitino has also said he goes through what-are-you-doing moments as well. If Buggs can take the next step and put the package together, it would be a big lift for the Gophers, who are going to need some major surprises in the frontcourt this season if they want to be competitive in the Big Ten.


A new #Bigfoot sighting? I feel so out of the loop. Yes, please address that.


Bigfoot is never out of the news. Recently, the creatures have been making headlines in Canada and Lincoln, Neb. (This one does not surprise me. Perhaps some of you will remember that I already found Bigfoot there, last fall). As for the first, which occurred in July, here is the video. Yes, it fits the typical bigfoot media checklist: Is it incredibly far away, without context or blurry? (Yes.) Is the camera shaking just right? (Yes.) Does it kind of look like maybe it could possibly be bigfoot? (Yes.)

Is it bigfoot? I don’t know – it’s way too far away to make any kind of judgment. One thing I regret about this video is that it does not have any sound. I always appreciate hearing the ‘OH S%$$%^**!!!’ comments – let’s be honest, that’s what I would be doing – and judging the authenticity of the pitch of the terrified accompanying squeaks of terror.

As for the second, in Lincoln, there’s not much to hold up to examine, but those cases always intrigue me, if anything, a little bit more. If you were going to hoax about seeing bigfoot – wouldn’t you at least fake an iPhone snapshot? So there is – the best proof for bigfoot: no proof. I have definitely been thinking about this too long.


Team Irvin 1/25/15 7:15 PM
Team Carter
New York 71 FINAL
Charlotte 76
Detroit 86 FINAL
Milwaukee 101
Philadelphia 83 FINAL
Memphis 101
Brooklyn 73 FINAL
Utah 108
Washington 79 4th Qtr 6:42
Portland 77
Wake Forest 57 FINAL
Clemson 59
Coll of Charleston 51 FINAL
Drexel 53
Tulsa 66 FINAL
East Carolina 64
Oklahoma State 53 FINAL
Kansas State 63
Rutgers 51 FINAL
Penn State 79
Iowa 63 FINAL
Purdue 67
Kentucky 58 FINAL
South Carolina 43
DePaul 76 FINAL
Xavier 89
Navy 65 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Bucknell 92 FINAL
Boston Univ 77
Allen (SC) 46 FINAL
Furman 82
South Dakota 50 FINAL
Texas A&M 67 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Citadel 75 FINAL
Va Military 85
Jacksonville 59 FINAL
Northern Ky 81
Loyola-Chicago 61 FINAL
Indiana State 72
Boise State 77 FINAL
Air Force 68
Kent State 63 FINAL
Ball State 52
Loyola-Maryland 58 FINAL
Colgate 59
Duquesne 59 FINAL
George Washington 74
Dartmouth 70 FINAL
Harvard 61
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Lafayette 71
Arkansas 61 FINAL
Missouri 60
Florida State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Buffalo 61 FINAL
Ohio 63
Kansas 75 FINAL
Texas 62
West Virginia 86
Akron 71 FINAL
Western Mich 69
Northeastern 62 FINAL
William & Mary 78
Brown 65 FINAL
Yale 69
Stetson 67 FINAL
USC Upstate 91
Denver 69 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 80
Fla Gulf Coast 54 FINAL
Kennesaw St 48
Illinois 71 FINAL
Minnesota 79
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Georgia State 75
Georgetown 95 FINAL
Marquette 85
St Francis-PA 40 FINAL
Mount St Marys 52
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Marshall 78
Georgia 72 FINAL
Miss State 66
TX-San Antonio 74 FINAL
Western Ky 83
CS-Bakersfield 57 FINAL
Chicago State 41
MD-Eastern Shore 74 FINAL
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Presbyterian 52 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 63
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Evansville 75
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Hofstra 63
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Nebraska 79
Miami-Ohio 60 FINAL
Northern Ill 55
McNeese State 67 FINAL
Northwestern St 93
Oregon 82
Robert Morris 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 65
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Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Syracuse 62
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Campbell 63 FINAL
Winthrop 71
New Mexico 62 FINAL
Wyoming 63
Sacred Heart 83 FINAL
Bryant 66
Austin Peay 56 FINAL
Eastern Ill 52
Eastern Mich 51 FINAL
Central Mich 65
Long Island 80 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 76
Liberty 76 FINAL
Radford 84
Coppin State 77 FINAL
NC Central 79
Northern Ariz 71 FINAL
Montana State 64
North Florida 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 66
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Eastern Wash 102
Arkansas State 64 FINAL
Troy 55
Old Dominion 68 FINAL
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Gardner-Webb 80 FINAL
Char Southern 93
Morehead State 66 FINAL
Jacksonville St 63
Ga Southern 57 FINAL
ULM 53
Stephen F Austin 79 FINAL
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Appalachian St 64 FINAL
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Central Arkansas 61
Incarnate Word 77 FINAL
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Alcorn State 60 FINAL
Alabama State 84
Texas-Arlington 75 FINAL
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Oklahoma 58 FINAL
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UNC Greensboro 72 FINAL
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Florida A&M 50
Jackson State 74 FINAL
Grambling St 63
Charlotte 69 FINAL
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Florida 71 FINAL
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Prairie View 72 FINAL
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Delaware State 67 FINAL
NC A&T 52
Oregon State 59
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SC State 63
Houston 59 FINAL
SMU 80
Vanderbilt 75
Hampton 66 FINAL
Savannah State 68
Cal State Fullerton 49 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 68
Wagner 50 FINAL
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Cornell 57 FINAL
Columbia 47
Richmond 60 FINAL
Dayton 63
Delaware 82 FINAL
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Nevada 62 FINAL
Fresno State 66
Davidson 80 FINAL
George Mason 73
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
High Point 72
North Dakota St 71 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 77
Wisconsin 69 FINAL
Michigan 64
Canisius 46 FINAL
Rider 59
Penn 56 FINAL
Saint Josephs 52
Western Carolina 72 FINAL
Samford 78
SE Missouri St 53 FINAL
UT Martin 70
Bowling Green 67 FINAL
Toledo 71
East Tenn St 64 FINAL
Wofford 72
Ill-Chicago 64 FINAL
Youngstown St 77
Seattle 55 FINAL
New Orleans 67
Southern U 65 FINAL
Alabama A&M 58
Missouri State 59 FINAL
Bradley 61
Washington St 58 FINAL
Colorado 90
Pacific 60 FINAL
Gonzaga 91
Utah State 77 FINAL
Towson 65 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 69
Southern Miss 75 FINAL
North Texas 71
South Dakota St 76 FINAL
Oral Roberts 72
Louisiana Tech 58 FINAL
Rice 45
Grand Canyon 72 FINAL
TX-Pan American 73
Memphis 57 FINAL
Tulane 55
Murray State 60 FINAL
SIU Edwardsville 54
Lamar 77 FINAL
Houston Baptist 79
Auburn 55 FINAL
Alabama 57
Texas Southern 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Southern Utah 56 FINAL
Montana 58
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
New Mexico St 69
Sacramento St 78 FINAL
Weber State 71
Portland State 76 FINAL
Idaho State 80
Eastern Ky 81 FINAL
Tenn Tech 83
UC Riverside 45 2nd Half 1:14
Cal Poly 61
Long Beach State 54 2nd Half 2:28
CS-Northridge 49
San Diego St 72 2nd Half 2:04
Colorado State 75
Northern Colorado 63 2nd Half 2:40
Idaho 77
St Marys-CA 64 2nd Half 1:33
Portland 56
Loyola Marymount 68 2nd Half 0:20
San Francisco 69
Arizona 40 2nd Half 14:32
California 23
Pepperdine 24 2nd Half
Santa Clara 35
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
Arizona State 10:59 PM
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Middle Tennessee 84 FINAL
Charlotte 54
Kansas State 46 FINAL
(3) Baylor 68
Louisiana 63 FINAL
Georgia State 56
Sacred Heart 67 FINAL
Bryant 71
Wagner 61 FINAL
Central Conn St 77
Robert Morris 67 FINAL
St Francis-NY 64
Presbyterian 51 FINAL
Winthrop 54
Akron 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 72
Davidson 47 FINAL
Duquesne 83
Dayton 75 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 56
George Washington 67 FINAL
La Salle 48
USC Upstate 44 FINAL
Stetson 67
Long Island 79 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 75
MD-Eastern Shore 65 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 75
Coppin State 58 FINAL
NC Central 59
Wofford 47 FINAL
East Tenn St 69
UNC Greensboro 49 FINAL
Western Carolina 70
Campbell 40 FINAL
Liberty 64
Charleston Southern 71 FINAL
Longwood 79
McNeese State 54 FINAL
Northwestern St 75
Coastal Carolina 61 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
High Point 58 FINAL
Radford 61
Old Dominion 58
Penn 59 FINAL
Austin Peay 66 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 63
West Virginia 59 FINAL
Kansas 65
Miami-Ohio 53 FINAL
Bowling Green 66
Northern Ill 43 FINAL
Buffalo 47
Eastern Michigan 75 FINAL
Toledo 61
Western Mich 78 FINAL
Kent State 55
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Siena 59
Boston U 56 FINAL
Bucknell 72
Colgate 72 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 45
Holy Cross 60 FINAL
Navy 44
Rhode Island 57 FINAL
George Mason 45
Massachusetts 44 FINAL
Richmond 64
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Saint Josephs 66
Cleveland State 65 FINAL
Wright State 82
Green Bay 75 FINAL
Detroit 58
Northern Ky 70 FINAL
Jacksonville 59
Lipscomb 71 FINAL
North Florida 62
Tulsa 74 FINAL
East Carolina 63
Oklahoma St 62
Santa Clara 65 FINAL
Pepperdine 54
Denver 82 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 75
Incarnate Word 54 FINAL
Abilene Christian 78
Nicholls 75 FINAL
Central Arkansas 72
Furman 45 FINAL
Chattanooga 67
Nebraska Omaha 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 74
Stephen F Austin 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 65
(24) Western Ky 63 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 64
Houston 49 FINAL
Memphis 84
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Jacksonville St 72
Prairie View 78 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Appalachian St 58 FINAL
Texas State 67
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Troy 76
American Univ 60 FINAL
Army 68
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ULM 72
Illinois-Chicago 63 FINAL
Milwaukee 64
Youngstown St 82 FINAL
Oakland 85
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North Dakota 96
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Oklahoma 70
San Diego 50 FINAL
BYU 54
Air Force 54 FINAL
Boise State 81
Portland 53 FINAL
St Marys-CA 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Wyoming 54 FINAL
New Mexico 60
Utah State 85
Hampton 55 FINAL
Savannah State 61
Marshall 76 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 71
Norfolk State 75 FINAL
SC State 79
Boston College 70 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Chicago State 58 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 83
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Alabama State 54
Jackson State 64 FINAL
Grambling 55
TX-Arlington 38 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 66
Fordham 50 FINAL
Saint Louis 54
Idaho 52 FINAL
Northern Colorado 70
Delaware State 16 2nd Half
NC A&T 37
Cornell 44 FINAL
Columbia 42
Ohio U 60 FINAL
Ball State 53
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
Pacific 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 65
St Francis-PA 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
Colorado State 49 FINAL
San Diego State 36
Hawaii 85 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 50
Lamar 80 FINAL
Houston Baptist 64
New Orleans 46
Weber State 65 FINAL
Sacramento St 108
Florida Atlantic 77
North Texas 55 FINAL
Southern Miss 67
Southern U 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
(6) Notre Dame 74 FINAL
Clemson 36
Murray State 52 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 78
SE Missouri St 55 FINAL
UT Martin 96
New Mexico St 68 FINAL
Utah Valley U 58
No Dakota State 66 FINAL
Western Ill 88
Harvard 75 FINAL
Dartmouth 69
Texas Southern 74 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 45
Belmont 64 FINAL
Tennessee St 62
Eastern Kentucky 97 FINAL
Tenn Tech 93
South Dakota 43 FINAL
Fresno State 62 FINAL
Nevada 44
CS-Northridge 67 FINAL
Long Beach St 52
Rice 71 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 88
Seattle 60
Saint Peters 51 FINAL
Marist 77
Kennesaw St 47 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 61
Cal Poly 78 FINAL
UC-Riverside 82
Montana State 64 FINAL
Northern Ariz 79
UC Santa Barbara 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 54
Montana 59 FINAL
Southern Utah 37
Idaho State 65 FINAL
Portland State 53
TX-Pan American 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69


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