Gophers need someone to step up

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 14, 2012 - 7:13 AM

The Gophers need someone to take charge as a go-to player, or their NCAA dreams might go away.

hide

Gophers junior forward Rodney Williams

Photo: Nati Harnik, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The search for a hero has been the Gophers' most enduring story line ever since Trevor Mbakwe tore his right ACL in November and was lost for the season. Different players have stepped up, but with only six regular-season games remaining and the Gophers' NCAA tournament hopes teetering, Minnesota still is searching for one go-to guy. Ralph Sampson III, Julian Welch and Chip Armelin have carried the load at times. But these are the four candidates we've identified who could step up starting Tuesday night against Ohio State:

RODNEY WILLIAMS

Why he will step up: The junior forward has all the tools and credentials to be the team's leader. When Williams is playing well, the whole team looks better. His athleticism makes him a tough matchup. Why he won't: Williams still can't be relied on. There still are games in which he disappears or looks disinterested, and he has only eight rebounds in his past four games.

Andre Hollins

Why he will step up: In the Gophers' past two games, Hollins has shown he is capable of taking over. His role is increasing, and he is one of the team's best at creating his own shot. Why he won't: Hollins is a freshman, and the guard has gone through long stretches of inconsistency and minor production. He also needs to work on his defense to continue to get minutes.

JOE COLEMAN

Why he will step up: When the freshman entered the starting lineup a month ago, he had an immediate impact on the team's energy. He needs to adjust his game, but he could again be a serious factor as a starter or reserve. Why he won't: The guard has gone scoreless for three consecutive games. He needs to turn the trend around and thrive in any role he is given.

AUSTIN HOLLINS

Why he will step up: He's never been flashy, but when the Gophers play well, a good game from Hollins usually is a key. The Gophers need his outside shot in order to quickly rack up points. Why he won't: The sophomore guard has been inconsistent. Just when it looks as if he has reached a new level, he drops off again. When his outside shot isn't falling, he struggles to score in other ways.

Rodney Williams Why he will step up: The junior forward has all the tools and credentials to be the team's leader. When Williams is playing well, the whole team looks better. His athleticism makes him a tough matchup. Why he won't: Williams still can't be relied on. There are still games where he disappears or looks disinterested, and he only has eight rebounds in his past four games.
  • GOPHERS VS. NO. 6 OHIO STATE

    8 tonight • Williams Arena • TV: ESPN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta - LP: J. Teheran 2 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 9
Washington 0 FINAL
Miami 8
Boston 4 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Detroit 2 FINAL
Houston 3
Toronto - WP: C. Hynes 9 FINAL
Boston - LP: D. Hinojosa 7
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Norberto 3 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Whitley 0
St. Louis 5 FINAL
NY Mets 4
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
Kansas City 4
LA Angels 1 FINAL
Oakland 4
San Diego 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox 2
Chicago WSox 12 FINAL
Seattle 4
Cleveland 2 FINAL
San Francisco 5
Milwaukee 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 11
Arizona 3 FINAL
Cincinnati 0
Texas 4 FINAL
Colorado 10
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Baltimore 3
Detroit 78 FINAL
Charlotte 102
Philadelphia 93 FINAL
Washington 106
San Antonio 103 FINAL
Orlando 91
Indiana 87 FINAL
Boston 100
Brooklyn 100 FINAL
New York 98
Chicago 91 FINAL
Milwaukee 95
Dallas 135 FINAL
Oklahoma City 131
Sacramento 111 FINAL
Houston 115
Toronto 113 FINAL
Minnesota 99
Denver 84 FINAL
Utah 98
LA Clippers 126 FINAL
Portland 122
New Orleans 113 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Toronto 3 FINAL
Buffalo 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Anaheim 5
Colorado 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Loyola-Chicago 63 FINAL
ULM 62
UCLA 69 FINAL
Michigan 65
Temple 58 FINAL
West Virginia 66
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who are you rooting for in the NCAA Final Four?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close