Chip Scoggins: Gophers gambling freshman Andre Hollins can do job

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 15, 2011 - 1:41 AM

The U's season collapsed last year because of a lack of a point guard. Can true freshman Andre Hollins breathe life into a deflated program?

hide

Gophers freshman Andre Hollins signed autographs during the Gophers’ skills and scrimmage session Friday night.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Andre Hollins was a high school freshman and not quite a blue-chip basketball recruit when he played his first game in Minnesota back in 2008.

He was a starting guard for the Memphis White Station team that defeated Cass Lake-Bena 99-68 in the Timberwolves Shootout at Target Center. Hollins didn't exactly get out and explore the city during his visit.

"I didn't step one foot outside," he said. "We stayed at the hotel that's connected to the Target Center."

He couldn't possibly have imagined this eventually would become his new home, at least for the foreseeable future. Hollins will take part in his first official practice with the Gophers basketball team Saturday. Coach Tubby Smith and his staff put the full-court press on Hollins in recruiting after watching him compete in an AAU tournament held -- you guessed it -- here in the Twin Cities the summer before his senior season.

"Kind of weird," Hollins said.

And ironic. However it unfolded, Smith could hardly contain his enthusiasm as he talked about his freshman point guard at his kickoff media gathering on Thursday. Speaking about Hollins and freshman Joe Coleman, Smith said, "I don't think that we've recruited two better people in maybe my coaching career."

His excitement is understandable. Hollins was named Mr. Basketball last season in a state rich in talent and ranked among the top 100 players nationally.

He graduated with a grade-point average above 4.0 and scored a 28 on his ACT. He had offers to attend Stanford and Harvard. He is enrolled in the Carlson School of Business, and his class schedule this semester includes microeconomics, contemporary management and short calculus.

Hollins is an impressive young man who didn't stop smiling during the entire 45-minute interview session. Apparently, that's just his personality.

"He's got the total package," Smith said. "Intellectually, academically, socially and the basketball. He's got everything. He was a great get for us. I'd be really concerned about things if we hadn't recruited him."

Fixing the point guard position was the No. 1 priority for Smith this offseason. The Gophers couldn't afford to go through what they did last season after senior Al Nolen broke his foot and Devoe Joseph transferred.

Left with no attractive options, Smith put the ball in Blake Hoffarber's hands. Hoffarber took one for the team and sacrificed his game, but the offense became a grinding mess. The Gophers won only one of their final 11 games.

Faced with a glaring hole at that position this season, Smith brought in Hollins and junior college transfer Julian Welch to compete with Maverick Ahanmisi for the job.

"That was a big reason for me coming here because there is such a big need for that void to be filled," Welch said.

Smith said the competition is wide open and available to whoever performs best. But listen to enough people around the program and it seems fairly obvious that Hollins is the frontrunner and the guy they hope wins the job.

Smith said he has no qualms about starting a freshman point guard.

"If he's good enough and he wins the job, then he'll start," he said. "We've started freshmen in the past. We don't mind starting them now."

The scouting report on Hollins is that he's a terrific athlete who can play either guard spot. He played shooting guard as a junior, point guard as a senior. He averaged 23.5 points last season, which included a 46-point effort against national power Findlay Prep.

"I consider myself a point guard," he said. "I'm a point guard that can score."

Nobody is expecting smooth sailing. Like any freshman, Hollins faces an adjustment. Players are stronger and faster at this level. The game is quicker, defensive responsibilities are more demanding. Tubby expects a lot of his players, regardless of their age.

Hollins knows all that. He watched the Gophers point guard struggles from afar last season. Now, he hopes to help fix them.

"It just shows how important the point guard is to a system," he said. "Hopefully I can come in and play a big part of the team and contribute as much as I can."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • related content

  • U men's hoops shows off athleticism, skills

    Saturday October 15, 2011

    Fans got their first look at an intriguing collection of basketball players hoping to erase the sour memory of last year, and optimism was rampant at Williams Arena.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland - WP: C. Allen 4 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: G. Holland 3
Baltimore 0 Bottom 5th Inning
NY Yankees 2
Kansas City 2 Top 5th Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Toronto 9
Chicago WSox 2 Top 6th Inning
Detroit 0
Pittsburgh 0 Top 5th Inning
Atlanta 0
Houston 0 Top 3rd Inning
Texas 0
St. Louis 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Arizona 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Minnesota 0
LA Angels - C. Wilson 9:05 PM
Oakland - J. Samardzija
San Francisco - J. Peavy 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - D. Haren
Colorado - T. Matzek 9:10 PM
San Diego - E. Stults
Chicago 7 1st Qtr 14:28
NY Jets 0
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Buffalo 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Green Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Tennessee 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Carolina 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Detroit 9/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Tampa Bay 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Miami 9/28/14 12:00 PM
Oakland
Jacksonville 9/28/14 3:05 PM
San Diego
Atlanta 9/28/14 3:25 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 9/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
New Orleans 9/28/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Ottawa 2 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
Ottawa 5:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 2 2nd Prd 7:12
NY Rangers 2
Detroit 1 2nd Prd 4:55
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 0 2nd Prd 20:00
Philadelphia 0
Washington 2 2nd Prd 8:04
Philadelphia 2
Minnesota 0 1st Prd 9:52
Winnipeg 0
St. Louis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Anaheim 8:00 PM
Colorado
Colorado 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
Arizona
Arizona 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(24) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(11) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(25) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(12) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(9) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
NC State
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(22) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(13) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
North Carolina 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Clemson
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(17) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Duke 9/27/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(8) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(21) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(18) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 15 FINAL
Montreal 31
Ottawa 32 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pm
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close