Hartman: Tubby sees hope in a dismal season

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 2, 2012 - 6:25 AM

The Gophers basketball team was young and had plenty of injuries, but the coach predicts better things ahead.

hide

Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With a disappointing Gophers men's basketball season nearing the end, I decided to do a Q and A with coach Tubby Smith, who is dealing with a second consecutive year of fewer than 20 victories -- a rarity in his long career.

Q: You lost four games by five points or fewer and lost another game in overtime. Have you ever had a year like that?

A: I've never had a year like this or a year like we had last year; it's been two years in a row. Up until last year we won 20 games for 17 straight years, so no, this is just, hopefully it's just a thing that we're going through at this point in time because we have some quality people on our team, some talented people.

I don't think I've had more injuries. So we're going to look at what our conditioning program has been like, just why we're having so many. I mean we've had more turned ankles this year. Even as we speak we have an issue with Julian Welch, he can't play the last two or three games -- he's played but he's hobbled around. He may not play again this year because he has such a groin strain or hip [injury].

Q: You were talking about "urban problems" having something to do with the poor record this year. What exactly do you mean by that?

A: I think living in a city where there's so many things going on and a big university where it's so huge, and in a pro town, that's what I meant. [The players] are looked upon as if they're grown men that are pro players and making a salary, and that's not the case.

I never lived in a city of this size where you had all the pro teams and the pro mentality, but that's part of it. And that's part of it, I think that's the unique part, I think that's why we do get the players we get. That's a great recruiting tool for us, as well, we sell that. We live in a great metropolitan area, one of the best cities. If you get your education here and get your degree, we have more Fortune 500 companies here. You can go see the Twins, the Timberwolves, the Vikings, the Wild, on and on and on. Don't get me wrong, but it's also a devil in disguise sometimes if you're not careful.

Q: Can you win with this group plus the two recruits?

A: Oh yeah, we can win. We'll be better because a kid like [injured sophomore forward] Mo Walker will be back. Elliott Eliason will be back and he'll be healthy. We have Andre Ingram back and he'll be healthy, because you know he had surgery last summer on that hip impingement. ... I think [recruit] Charles Buggs gives us another big player. If we have to, we're looking at some players now, if we have to recruit another big man just for insurance sake, we might have to do that as well.

We can win with this group. I think guys like Oto [Osenieks], who's a freshman, he'll be a sophomore next year, Elliott Eliason will be a sophomore next year, Andre Hollins will be a sophomore. We're the youngest team in the league, and when you lose a senior, a fifth-year senior like Trevor Mbakwe, it just makes all the difference in the world.

Q: Did you expect more from Ralph Sampson III, who was recruited by a lot of big-time schools?

A: Ralph has had a very consistent year. He's played, I don't know if he's played to his potential, but he's given us what he's been able to give us and he's been one of the most consistent guys since he's been here. The rebounding has been something that we've struggled with.

Q: Have you had a chance to see your two recruits for next year? What do you think of them?

A: Well Charles Buggs, he's at Hargrave Military Academy [in Chatham, Va.]. I went down to see him last week and [he] played extremely well. He's about 6-7, 6-8, he's thin but he's a kid that really knows how to play. His team is undefeated.

The other young man from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, Wally Ellenson, is having an outstanding year. He plays on a team with two of his brothers and I know they're going into the state playoffs over there.

Q: Does the team lack shooters?

A: I was hoping [with the] guys that we had, shooters in our lineup, that we would be a better shooting team, but we just have struggled shooting the ball again. Oto Osenieks is a guy we expected to shoot the ball better, but we had to play him inside because of the loss of our post players.

You lose a guy like Trevor Mbakwe and now you're down a post man. Or you look up and someone like Andre Ingram has had a history with his hip and we're down bigs. So Oto really hasn't had a chance to get comfortable in our offense playing outside.

But you're asking about our players that are coming in, our recruits, Wally Ellenson will be a true outside shooter, that's what he does well.

Q: Will the fact that Mbawke was suspended for a season with personal problems in Miami have an effect on him getting a sixth year of eligibility?

A: I don't know about that. I hope, but I know at that time decisions are made, we were going through a lot of issues at that time. I don't want to rehash them. But there was more than just Trevor Mbakwe. We were dealing with other things.

I think he should. If the NCAA is true to their word and what their mission is and being student-friendly, then I think he'll be back next year.

Q: You played well against Wisconsin and Michigan State, maybe you have a chance in the [Big Ten] tournament.

A: We do have a chance, don't get me wrong. You mentioned the games earlier where we've been close in every game. The only games we didn't give ourselves a chance to win was Michigan State away, I thought the Ohio State game here, and the Indiana game here. Those three games we didn't play well at all, but even in the Ohio State game we made a run, got it back to seven, eight twice, after being down 21. We did the same thing to Michigan State, came back up there.

In all the games we lost there were droughts and stretches that we went through, that's what we have to eliminate. [We need] where you have that guy that you can throw the ball to [and who] will make a play for you. I think Andre Hollins is coming around and now he's healthy and he's learning to play defense better, so I think he can make a big difference. He'll be the difference-maker if we do well in the Big Ten tournament.

Q: How important is a practice facility?

A: Oh, it's critical. I was watching the Nebraska/Iowa game last night and that's all the commentators talked about was how important it was for Nebraska to have that type of facility to recruit athletes. ... It's something that we hope, and we expected to have by now, and unfortunately we haven't and we have to keep working and we will get it.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 26 FINAL
Atlanta 24
Tennessee 24 FINAL
Philadelphia 43
Detroit 9 FINAL
New England 34
Green Bay 24 FINAL
Minnesota 21
Jacksonville 3 FINAL
Indianapolis 23
Cincinnati 22 FINAL
Houston 13
Tampa Bay 13 FINAL
Chicago 21
Arizona 0 2nd Qtr 6:30
Seattle 9
St. Louis 10 2nd Qtr 4:25
San Diego 3
Miami 14 2nd Qtr 12:49
Denver 3
Washington 0 2nd Qtr 12:00
San Francisco 7
Dallas 7:30 PM
NY Giants
NY Jets 11/24/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Baltimore 11/24/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 11/27/14 11:30 AM
Detroit
Philadelphia 11/27/14 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 11/27/14 7:30 PM
San Francisco
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 5:00 PM
Boston
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Miami
Golden State 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Denver 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
St. Louis 0 1st Prd 4:38
Winnipeg 1
Montreal 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Arizona 7:00 PM
Anaheim
Chicago 8:30 PM
Vancouver
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 60
Massachusetts 75 FINAL
Florida State 69
Youngstown St 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 67
Wofford 64 FINAL
Sam Houston St 53
Ark-Pine Bluff 43 FINAL
Central Mich 75
Southern Ill 67 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Drexel 61 FINAL
Cornell 59
American Univ 51 FINAL
Morehead State 46
CS-Northridge 88 FINAL
Ark-Little Rock 94
Bethune-Cookman 65 FINAL
Central Conn St 60
Columbia 54 FINAL
Lehigh 44
Texas A&M 64 FINAL
New Mexico 51
TX A&M-CC 62 FINAL
Saint Louis 56
Merchant Marine 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 89
South Dakota 72 FINAL
Fairfield 80
Longwood 48 FINAL
Eastern Mich 79
Providence 75 FINAL
Notre Dame 74
Jackson State 50 FINAL
UAB 58
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Denver 80
Northwestern St 68 FINAL
Oklahoma 90
Catawba 52 FINAL
Radford 88
Newman 56 2nd Half 1:19
Wichita State 100
Yale 50 2nd Half 5:39
Kent State 49
St Katherine 27 2nd Half 19:12
UC Riverside 55
NC Central 24 2nd Half 17:23
Creighton 30
South Florida 29 2nd Half
NC State 33
USC 37 2nd Half 15:32
Penn State 37
Nichols College 41 2nd Half 17:39
Holy Cross 64
Dayton 24 1st Half 6:05
Boston College 20
Wagner 19 1st Half 5:47
Hofstra 29
Towson 21 1st Half 3:43
Monmouth 37
NC A&T 0 1st Half 17:56
Bradley 2
Eastern Ill 3 1st Half 17:49
Cincinnati 2
Fla Atlantic 2 1st Half 18:35
Georgia 4
Presbyterian 3 1st Half 18:57
Louisiana Tech 5
St Francis-NY 0 1st Half 18:10
Rutgers 2
UMKC 4:00 PM
Samford
Binghamton 4:30 PM
Navy
USC Upstate 5:00 PM
UCF
UMass Lowell 5:00 PM
Fordham
Montana State 5:00 PM
Kentucky
Iona 5:00 PM
North Texas
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
Seton Hall
Akron 5:30 PM
South Carolina
Connecticut 5:30 PM
West Virginia
Hood College 6:00 PM
Howard
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Ohio State
Tennessee St 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Delaware 6:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Mercer 7:00 PM
Colorado State
SD Christian 7:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
Northern Ariz 7:00 PM
Ole Miss
Manhattan 7:00 PM
Northeastern
Pacific 7:00 PM
Washington
Miami-Florida 8:00 PM
Charlotte
Old Dominion 8:00 PM
Illinois State
UC Irvine 8:00 PM
St Marys-CA
Long Beach State 9:00 PM
UCLA
Montana 9:30 PM
Seattle
Char Southern 9 FINAL
(8) Georgia 55
South Alabama 12 FINAL
So Carolina 37
Rutgers 3 FINAL
(10) Michigan State 45
(22) Minnesota 28 FINAL
Nebraska 24
Northwestern 38 FINAL
Purdue 14
(19) Marshall 23 FINAL
UAB 18
Kansas 7 FINAL
(20) Oklahoma 44
Indiana 27 FINAL
(7) Ohio State 42
Penn State 14 FINAL
Illinois 16
(16) Eastern Ky 3 FINAL
Florida 52
TX-San Antonio 7 FINAL
Western Ky 45
SMU 7 FINAL
UCF 53
Tulsa 28 FINAL
Houston 38
Virginia Tech 3 FINAL
Wake Forest 6
Washington St 31 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 52
Louisiana Tech 27 FINAL
Old Dominion 30
Western Mich 32 FINAL
Central Mich 20
New Mexico 20 FINAL
(21) Colorado State 58
Eastern Mich 30 FINAL
Ball State 45
Appalachian St 35 FINAL
Louisiana 16
(12) Arizona 42 FINAL
Utah 10
FIU 14 FINAL
North Texas 17
(18) Ole Miss 0 FINAL
Arkansas 30
(24) Louisville 31 FINAL
Notre Dame 28
Maryland 23 FINAL
Michigan 16
Texas Tech 34 FINAL
Iowa State 31
(14) Wisconsin 26 FINAL
Iowa 24
Syracuse 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
Boston College 17 FINAL
(1) Florida State 20
Georgia State 0 FINAL
(23) Clemson 28
Tulane 6 FINAL
East Carolina 34
Stanford 38 FINAL
California 17
Western Carolina 14 FINAL
(2) Alabama 48
ULM 30 FINAL
New Mexico St 17
So Florida 20 FINAL
Memphis 31
Colorado 10 FINAL
(3) Oregon 44
Fla Atlantic 34 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 35
Samford 7 FINAL
(15) Auburn 31
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
Virginia 30
Vanderbilt 0 FINAL
(4) Miss State 51
(17) Missouri 29 FINAL
Tennessee 21
Oklahoma State 28 FINAL
(5) Baylor 49
USC 20 FINAL
(9) UCLA 38
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
Connecticut 0
(25) Boise State 63 FINAL
Wyoming 14
Oregon State 13 FINAL
Washington 37
Fresno State 40 FINAL
Nevada 20
UNLV 35 FINAL
Hawaii 37
Ohio U 11/25/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
LSU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 11/27/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
New England 2 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 4:00 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 24 FINAL
Hamilton 40
Edmonton 1 15:00
Calgary 7
Alabama 58 FINAL
Temple 51
Massachusetts 46 FINAL
Florida State 74
Creighton 60 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 96
Bryant 79 FINAL
Boston College 90
Robert Morris 84 FINAL
UMBC 60
Sacred Heart 59 FINAL
Maine 58
Virginia Tech 72 FINAL
Providence 69
Coll of Charleston 61 FINAL
George Mason 71
Hartford 59 FINAL
Lafayette 74
William & Mary 80 FINAL
High Point 87
Western Ill 88 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 90
Pittsburgh 64 FINAL
James Madison 80
Toledo 48 FINAL
(24) Purdue 66
Western Mich 47 FINAL
Michigan 74
Cleveland State 73 FINAL
FIU 65
San Diego State 38 FINAL
(2) South Carolina 89
Mount St Marys 62 FINAL
Davidson 67
IUPUI 45 FINAL
(15) Michigan State 64
Illinois State 49 FINAL
Colorado State 70
Incarnate Word 49 FINAL
Indiana 85
Cincinnati 54 FINAL
Iowa State 85
Furman 69 FINAL
Clemson 79
VA Commonwealth 86 FINAL
Ohio State 96
Marquette 51 FINAL
(7) Duke 83
Bethune-Cookman 42 FINAL
East Carolina 71
Coppin State 54 FINAL
Wake Forest 65
(24) Georgia 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 57
Ball State 56 FINAL
(12) Louisville 69
Auburn 51 FINAL
Virginia 66
Utah 43 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 66
Minnesota 68 FINAL
Memphis 62
Georgetown 42 FINAL
Kansas 55
Northwestern St 30 FINAL
Arkansas 78
TX-San Antonio 72 FINAL
Lamar 40
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
McNeese State 57
Air Force 51 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 86
IUPU-Ft Wayne 73 FINAL
USC Upstate 85
Morgan State 57 FINAL
Texas Tech 65
Western Ky 77 FINAL
Miss State 88
Southern U 42 FINAL
Illinois 62
Eastern Illinois 49 2nd Half 3:06
North Texas 50
Alabama State 61 FINAL
South Alabama 64
Wisconsin 77 FINAL
Drake 89
Seattle 41 2nd Half 15:54
Montana State 52
UC Santa Barbara 22 2nd Half 17:16
Northern Ariz 41
Hofstra 34 2nd Half 16:41
Norfolk State 28
Iona 23 2nd Half 17:03
Pacific 36
Middle Tennessee 36 2nd Half 20:00
Ole Miss 31
Portland 38 2nd Half 18:53
Cal Poly 40
(10) Texas 37 2nd Half
UCLA 32
Fresno State 3 1st Half 15:35
USC 8
Ave Maria 2 1st Half 18:00
Fla Gulf Coast 5
Holy Cross 5 1st Half 15:13
(3) Notre Dame 18
Chicago State 5:00 PM
Oakland
(11) North Carolina 5:00 PM
Oregon
Harvard 6:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Princeton 6:00 PM
American Univ
Missouri 8:30 PM
(14) California
Yale 9:30 PM
Washington
UNLV 10:59 PM
Hawaii
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 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

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

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close