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

Point guard Jimmy Whitt among Minnesota targets for 2015

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: May 2, 2014 - 11:47 AM

At this point, it's nearly impossible to tell how Minnesota's 2015 class will play out.

The Gophers expect to have four scholarships available and have extended offers to four or five times that many players. Of course, they'll likely become less interesting in some. Others will whittle down their lists in ways that don't include a home in Minneapolis.

For now, we have an unfocused, panoramic view of possible candidates. One of those is Jimmy Whitt, a four-star point guard from Missouri.

Earlier this week, Minnesota extended an offer to the 6-2 floor general, joining a host of big name programs that are showing interest.

"Honestly, I've lost count," Dave Johnson, Whitt's coach at Hickman High School, said of the offers.

According to his Rivals page, which ranks him 74th nationally, the junior has picked up invitations to play from Arkansas, Colorado, Creighton, Illinois, Kansas State, Missouri, Northern Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, San Francisco, SMU, Tulsa, Wichita State and Xavier in addition to Minnesota. Other schools -- Indiana, Kansas and Ohio State reportedly among them -- have recruited Whitt at some level.

The Gophers have been aware of him for some time, first reaching out to the guard last summer, Johnson said.

Rivals.com' Eric Bossi, who watched Whitt at the Jayhawk Invitational last weekend, wrote that he "outplayed" his national ranking, noting that while there are bigger and more athletic guards, "very few in the class of 2015 have as developed or advanced off-the-dribble scoring and mid-range game as Whitt."

"He's definitely the complete package," Johnson said. "There isn't anything on the court that he can't do as far as offensively, and he's a lock-down defender. He's got great athleticism. He can shoot the ball extremely well, he can handle it and he's got a very high IQ for the game of basketball."

Johnson has plenty of Minnesota ties personally, playing JUCO ball at Fergus Falls and coaching at Brainerd Community College. He's long followed Minnesota basketball and called new coach Richard Pitino attractive for recruits and a "shot in the arm" for the program.

As for Whitt, Johnson said "I think he's getting the feel for him right now."

With his recruitment only starting to heat up, Whitt is remaining open-minded and allowing his parents, who have been very involved early, to help mentor him.

"He's really soaking it in," Johnson said, noting that right now there aren't any schools whose attention trump any of the others. "They've all kind of gone after him pretty hard as far as that side of it. He's just kept his options open."

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