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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Austin Hollins' aggressiveness in rebounding a big help to the Gophers

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: November 18, 2013 - 10:50 AM

Be sure to join me for my next live chat, at noon on Wednesday.

When asked the question, Austin Hollins merely shrugged.

He’d just completed his second consecutive double-double (doing so in just 27 minutes of play), which also happened to be his second career double-double, and now, we were wondering:

Is this what we can start to expect from the senior guard?

It seems a bit ridiculous to even muse about it. Until last week, Hollins had never had more than seven rebounds in a game, and he’d only reached that plateau twice in his career. Besides, at a lanky 6-4, Hollins doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a bruiser, part of the reason the four-guard lineup the Gophers have been forced to roll out on occasion has been so risky.

But now, even he’s not sure that this isn’t the new norm. The last two games the rebounding has appeared to come pretty naturally for him, and who’s to say the trend won’t continue, for at least a little while longer.

“We’ll see what happens,” Hollins said. “I’m just going to go out there and play hard.”

Hollins said it’s just a matter of getting in position better to grab the rebounds, something he’s been putting a lot of focus on in practice. It’s also something he finds he consciously thinks about more on the court.

So far, it’s been paying off. Even Andre Hollins, who got seven boards of his own was a little wide-eyed watching his teammate’s newly showcased ability.

“He got up really high on some of those boards,” Hollins said. “I was like ‘God, I didn’t he could jump that high.’”

It’s been a major help for the frontcourt-thin Gophers, who out-rebounded Richmond, 54-37 on Saturday night. Coach Richard Pitino has preached all season that Minnesota will need to rebound-by-committee to make up for the personnel they lack. Saturday was a good example of that, with five players collecting five or more rebounds.

“He just showed toughness,” Pitino said of Austin. “He’s undersized, he’s thin, but he got the job done. We’re really proud of him.”

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