McKinley Wright knows the Gophers as well as any recruiting target in the 2017 class, so his official visit this week will be less about getting familiar with the program and more about what his role would be.
Wright, a 6-foot senior point guard from Champlin Park, said he's excited about the visit, which starts with attending Thursday's Minnesota football game against Oregon State with the basketball team.
"I pretty much have seen and know how everything would go if I were to play for Minnesota," he said. "But I just want to know a little more how I fit in the system and how everything will work out with Nate Mason being a senior if I were to come in as a freshman. I'm not really worried about everything that would go on in the visit. I'm just looking forward to having a good time."
Over the spring and summer, Wright dropped by campus on unofficial visits to hang out with Gophers players numerous times. It's pretty clear how strong his relationship is with the team. Current freshmen Amir Coffey and Eric Curry even went to watch Wright play in a summer tournament at Hopkins.
After losing Cristo Rey big man Jericho Sims to Texas on Monday, Gophers coach Richard Pitino could make a statement by landing Wright, who also has official visits scheduled to Dayton, Memphis and Xavier.
Wright was a bit discouraged to see Sims, his D1 Minnesota AAU teammate, commit before him. Now there won't be a possibility they could play together in college. The only school to offer them both scholarships that they were strongly considering was Minnesota.
"It would've been nice to play somewhere with Jericho, but you've got to do what's best for you individually," said Wright, who talked to Sims on Tuesday about the decision. "I also think that was a very good situation for him. So you can't be mad at him. I'm excited for him."
Wright's high school teammate, Theo John is scheduled to visit Marquette this weekend. John, a 6-9 center/forward, is the best frontcourt option for the Gophers in the 2017 class with Sims off the board.
Best case scenario for Pitino would be to get a commitment from Wright soon, and then see if he can convince John to join him to help turn Minnesota basketball into a contender in the Big Ten.
Also attending Thursday's Gophers football game with the basketball team will be Armstrong junior Race Thompson, Minnehaha Academy freshman Jalen Suggs and Rochester John Marshall sophomore Matthew Hurt, who was just invited to USA basketball's junior men's national team minicamp Oct. 7-10 in Colorado Springs, Colo.