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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Host of DI veterans to guide 2015 forward Ahmad Wagner

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: June 9, 2014 - 11:33 AM

Certainly, things have changed.

When Ahmad Wagner's parents -- both Division I athletes -- were being recruited, the procedure varied substantially from today's typical process.

In some ways, the rules were looser when his father was being recruited to play football at Jackson State and his mother, to run track there. In other ways they seemed less intrusive. Text messaging and cell phones didn't exist in those days, turning contemporary contact into perpetual conversations.

"They always tell me that things have changed a whole bunch and that things are different," said Wagner, a 6-7 forward Minnesota is seriously pursuing.

Still, all of the guidance has been helpful, he said. In addition to his parents, Wagner's coach at Wayne High School in Ohio is Travis Trice Sr., who balled at Purdue. Trice's son, Travis Trice Jr. is heading into his senior year at Michigan State and occasionally stops by practices when he's home.

Like his parents, the two Trices lend their advice on what aspects to look for on the academic side and what recruiting tactics to be wary of. When it comes to Big Ten schools -- Wagner has offers from Minnesota and Iowa -- the father and son can each talk a little about the facilities and campuses before the 2015 recruit even sets up a visit.

Last month, the younger Trice came to an open gym at the high school. Wagner got the chance to guard him in a scrimmage, a valuable learning experience, he said.

"I'm close with both of them," Wagner said. "It's nice having their help."

Besides the two Big Ten schools -- both of which Wagner hopes to visit this summer -- the versatile forward has collected offers from Bucknell, Kent State, Texas Tech, Wright State and  Toledo, the last of which is third on the list for potential visits this summer. Minnesota is currently working with Wagner to set up an official visit.

Head coach Richard Pitino made sure that until then, Wagner's impression wasn't colored by his experience at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball tournament in Eagan last month -- the landscape a far cry from downtown Minneapolis.

"He told me where I'm at shouldn't give me the whole feel of Minnesota," Wagner said then. "He told me that before I came here. He told me when I come up for the visit, he can really show me around and everything. So I'm looking forward to that."

Wagner, who played receiver in football for his first two years of high school, has hung up his cleats to focus on his priority sport. 

Along the way, he'll have plenty of help. 

"My coaches and my parents are my biggest influences on where I'm going," he said.

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