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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Gophers talk about Duke

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: November 21, 2012 - 10:43 AM



When you play a team like Duke, everyone has thoughts. Here are some of the Gophers’ reactions to facing the tradition that is the Blue Devils:

Trevor Mbakwe: “I look at it as a big challenge for myself. When you come to a big program, you expect to play against the best, and it gives of [shows] you where you’re at. I’m just looking forward to to testing myself against some of the guys who are [eventual] NBA players. Go out and give my best and see where I’m at.”

Rodney Williams: “Growing up, watching Duke, you always want to either to play for a team like that or play against a team like, so to finally have that for me, I’m really excited about it. The Bahamas is always a plus. You don’t want to go out there and be out in the sun too much, but it’s a big change from here so you want to embrace it as much as you can before you have to come home.”

Williams (cont.): “I think [a win] would mean a lot for this program. We know that we’re capable of going out there and beating Duke. But right now, I kind of feel like it’s us against the world. So we’ve just got to go out there and play how we play, play our style of basketball, play the defense that we play and I think we’ll be alright.”

Andre Hollins: “That’s some people’s dreams to play Duke, play against one of the greatest coaches of all time in Coach K, and you know they’re always in contention to win the championship or make it far into the tournament. So it’s going to be a great game. It’s exciting.”

Austin Hollins: “I think that hypes everybody up when you see that name [Duke] pop up in the tournament that you’re playing in. But at the end of the day, when we get on the court, they’re just another team. We’ve got to play our game, and we’ve got to play it to the best of our ability.”

Tubby Smith: “It does help to play on TV, to play against teams of this caliber, yes. Because we tell kids when we’re recruiting – hey, we’re going to play against the best. And the best is in the Big Ten, and the best means playing in these tournaments like this one and Maui next year. That’s why we play these tournaments because I think that is an attraction for potential players.”


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