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: "It's usually upstairs is where the problem is"

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under Gophers players, Tubby Smith Updated: February 29, 2012 - 12:10 PM

 

Smith sees these guys as big enough distractions without everything else going on off the court.

Smith sees these guys as big enough distractions without everything else going on off the court.

 

It’s not news that college students have a lot going on, and a lot going through their minds. At that age, kids are still trying to find their identities and having a full range of experiences can be important. 

But Tuesday night after his team's sixth consecutive loss, coach Tubby Smith reiterated something he originally brought up on his radio show Monday on 1500-am – that he believes some of those other activities have become a potentially harming distraction for his players. 

Smith still won’t say what the distractions are – and it seems like for the most part, he doesn’t actually know – but he’s obviously concerned about the focus of his players and he said he wanted to make a statement. 

(Note: I don’t think Smith – as several people have alluded to on Twitter – is blaming the Minneapolis “city life." He’s saying he feels like his players aren’t coming ready to play every day and maybe aren’t primarily concerned with the team. That, obviously, can happen in any city anywhere, but again the point is not WHAT the distractions are, simply that there ARE distractions).

“It’s not everybody, it’s just -- I wanted to send a message that obviously there’s something,” Smith said. “Because we’re pretty good athletes, and to lose the games we lost the way we lost them has been … my whole thing is that it must be mental. So there must be some kind of distractions.

“I think it’s the whole journey. We talk about things that go on – it’s usually internal things that we have to address and then I think there have to be, there are distractions whether it be your girlfriend, not doing what you’re supposed to do or something at home."

Smith noted that the team has had some physical problems as well – most recently with Julian Welch out with a hip pointer and Maverick Ahanmisi dealing with a tender ankle – but, of course, those health issues aren’t usually what lose the games for the Gophers.

“It’s usually upstairs is where the problem is,” Smith said.

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