Scoggins: Gophers' holiday spirit of sharing ball is contagious

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2012 - 11:44 AM
hide

Junior guard Austin Hollins is one of four Gophers starters averaging in double figures so far this season. “We don’t have just one guy who can score,” teammate Joe Coleman said. “We have different leading scorers every game.”

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Gophers men's basketball team has played nine games and had five different leading scorers.

Four starters -- Rodney Williams, Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Joe Coleman -- average double figures in scoring. Trevor Mbakwe's 8.4-point scoring average almost assuredly will climb to double digits once he moves into the starting lineup and/or assumes a more significant role in his return from major knee surgery.

Thus, it's entirely realistic to think the Gophers can field a lineup that consists of five players who average double figures in scoring, which hasn't happened in this program since the 1965-66 season.

"This is definitely the most balanced team that we've had since I've been here," said Williams, a senior forward who leads the team at 14.1 points per game. "You never know who it's going to be on any given night."

That revelation is one of the more promising developments in their strong start to this season. At 8-1 and ranked 14th nationally this week, the Gophers aren't reliant on one or even two primary scorers to shoulder the offensive load. They're getting consistent contributions from a number of guys -- their top four scorers average between 10 and 15 points.

The Gophers don't necessarily have a designated "best" offensive player or go-to scorer. Theirs is a shared responsibility that seemingly rotates on a game-by-game basis. That could change as the season unfolds, and they'll certainly need someone to step up and display a willingness to take clutch shots with a game on the line.

But their offensive balance and share-the-ball unselfishness is enjoyable to watch and should make them more difficult to defend because their scoring source is not always predictable.

"We don't have just one guy who can score," Coleman said. "We have different leading scorers every game."

In that vein, we conducted a poll of the Gophers' top 10 players to see who they think will lead the team in scoring at season's end. Williams was the runaway winner, although Andre Hollins and Mbakwe also received votes.

"Rodney because he's the most versatile player," backup forward Maurice Walker said. "He can score inside or out, take people off the dribble."

The Gophers have a nice blend of talent and skill sets. And they genuinely seem to appreciate not being forced to rely on one player to score 25 points every game in order for them to succeed. They don't care who scores, which creates better ball movement and more offensive flow. They rank fifth in the Big Ten in scoring (75.9 points per game) and third in assists (16.3).

"It takes pressure off everybody as a team," Andre Hollins said.

Of course, it's only early December and they have to show they can function effectively against better competition. The Big Ten looks full of true heavyweights this season, so we'll find out if the Gophers can sustain what they've started, particularly in conference play when games become tighter and more physical and teams are forced to grind out possessions in the halfcourt.

That's not a been a strength of Gophers teams under Tubby Smith. His offense has looked laborious and stagnant at times, to the point that some games eroded into the visual equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. Just painful to watch.

That's partly been a result of personnel deficiencies. But this team appears capable of producing better ball movement in the halfcourt and no reason is more important than Andre Hollins' development at point guard. The sophomore looks in complete control of his game and the entire offense. He used his late-season flourish as a springboard and, so far, he's demonstrated a nice feel for when to push the pace and when to pull back.

"It's just having that year experience," he said.

That applies for the entire team. The roster returned mostly intact, and the players just look more comfortable together. They look more in sync on offense.

"It helps when you're in the flow of things," Austin Hollins said. "Everyone knows each other. We've been around each other."

They also don't care who scores the most points on any given night because chances are, someone else will fill that role the next game. They embrace that balanced approach, which is as encouraging as anything they've done to this point.

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Detroit 6:00 PM
Washington
Atlanta 6:30 PM
Miami
Toronto 6:30 PM
New York
Memphis 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Brooklyn 7:30 PM
Dallas
Milwaukee 8:00 PM
Utah
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Phoenix
Buffalo 1 1st Prd 16:11
Florida 0
Detroit 0 1st Prd 16:03
Nashville 0
Carolina 4:00 PM
NY Islanders
New Jersey 4:00 PM
Columbus
Arizona 4:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:00 PM
Montreal
NY Rangers 7:00 PM
Philadelphia
Minnesota 9:00 PM
Colorado
St. Louis 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Ottawa 9:00 PM
San Jose
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
La Salle 56
Western Carolina 67 FINAL
Citadel 54
Nebraska Omaha 71 1st OT 5:00
IUPUI 71
Maine 56 FINAL
New Hampshire 65
Samford 76 2nd Half 0:43
Va Military 66
Presbyterian 53 FINAL
Winthrop 80
Utah State 35 2nd Half 16:57
Air Force 25
Vermont 46 2nd Half 17:54
Albany 39
UMBC 30 2nd Half 17:56
Binghamton 33
Indiana State 31 2nd Half 16:24
Bradley 26
Butler 32 2nd Half 14:14
DePaul 38
Illinois State 31 2nd Half 20:00
Evansville 27
Wright State 22 2nd Half 17:51
Ill-Chicago 26
Fla Gulf Coast 33 2nd Half 15:22
Jacksonville 42
Ole Miss 27 2nd Half 19:11
LSU 25
North Carolina 32 2nd Half
Miami-Florida 30
Wagner 37 2nd Half 14:31
Mount St Marys 45
TCU 42 2nd Half 16:15
Oklahoma 40
Delaware 35 2nd Half 15:31
Towson 37
Cincinnati 41 2nd Half 14:32
Tulane 25
Dayton 37 2nd Half 15:53
VA Commonwealth 33
Northern Iowa 31 2nd Half 16:44
Wichita State 45
Drexel 43 2nd Half 15:55
William & Mary 29
Oakland 31 2nd Half 19:39
Green Bay 43
Villanova 41 2nd Half 16:17
Xavier 46
Campbell 18 2nd Half 18:53
Longwood 35
Sarah Lawrence 23 1st Half 3:29
NJIT 29
Middle Tennessee 0 1st Half 20:00
UAB 0
UNC-Asheville 5 1st Half 16:24
Liberty 5
Southern Utah 5 1st Half 17:29
North Dakota 4
Utah Valley U 2:05 PM
Chicago State
ULM 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Bowling Green 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Long Island 2:30 PM
Sacred Heart
West Virginia 3:00 PM
Baylor
Holy Cross 3:00 PM
Boston Univ
MD-Eastern Shore 3:00 PM
Delaware State
Wofford 3:00 PM
Furman
Montana State 3:00 PM
Idaho
Hofstra 3:00 PM
James Madison
Iowa State 3:00 PM
Kansas State
Arkansas 3:00 PM
Kentucky
Missouri State 3:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Fordham 3:00 PM
Massachusetts
Nicholls 3:00 PM
McNeese State
East Tenn St 3:00 PM
Mercer
Coppin State 3:00 PM
Morgan State
San Diego 3:00 PM
Portland
Gardner-Webb 3:00 PM
Radford
St Francis-PA 3:00 PM
Robert Morris
Duquesne 3:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Creighton 3:00 PM
Seton Hall
Oklahoma State 3:00 PM
Texas Tech
Alabama 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Virginia Tech 3:00 PM
Virginia
Bethune-Cookman 3:00 PM
NC Central
St Francis-NY 3:00 PM
Bryant
Drake 3:05 PM
Southern Ill
High Point 3:30 PM
Char Southern
Central Conn St 3:30 PM
Fair-Dickinson
Eastern Mich 3:30 PM
Western Mich
Texas 4:00 PM
Kansas
Chattanooga 4:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
SE Louisiana 4:00 PM
Central Arkansas
South Dakota St 4:00 PM
South Dakota
Montana 4:05 PM
Eastern Wash
Georgia State 4:15 PM
Troy
Old Dominion 4:30 PM
North Texas
Arkansas State 4:30 PM
Texas State
Texas Southern 5:00 PM
Alabama State
Tennessee St 5:00 PM
Belmont
Princeton 5:00 PM
Brown
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Cornell
Tennessee 5:00 PM
Florida
Jacksonville St 5:00 PM
Morehead State
San Jose St 5:00 PM
Nevada
Florida A&M 5:00 PM
NC A&T
Iowa 5:00 PM
Penn State
Loyola Marymount 5:00 PM
Pepperdine
Miss State 5:00 PM
South Carolina
Savannah State 5:00 PM
SC State
Miss Valley St 5:30 PM
Jackson State
Alcorn State 5:30 PM
Southern U
Prairie View 6:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Harvard 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Washington 6:00 PM
Davidson
Syracuse 6:00 PM
Duke
Tenn Tech 6:00 PM
Eastern Ky
UNC-Wilmington 6:00 PM
Elon
Stony Brook 6:00 PM
Hartford
Hampton 6:00 PM
Howard
Northwestern 6:00 PM
Illinois
Western Ill 6:00 PM
IUPU-Ft Wayne
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Kent State
Incarnate Word 6:00 PM
Lamar
Cal State Fullerton 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
TX-San Antonio 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Marshall
Richmond 6:00 PM
Saint Josephs
George Mason 6:00 PM
Saint Louis
Austin Peay 6:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Murray State 6:00 PM
UT Martin
Ball State 6:00 PM
Toledo
Penn 6:00 PM
Yale
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Stetson 6:00 PM
North Florida
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Grand Canyon 6:05 PM
UMKC
Abilene Christian 6:15 PM
New Orleans
Northeastern 7:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Tulsa 7:00 PM
Memphis
Wyoming 7:00 PM
UNLV
Central Mich 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Denver 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Charlotte 7:00 PM
Rice
Boise State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
St Marys-CA 7:00 PM
Santa Clara
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
Southern Miss
Sam Houston St 7:00 PM
TX A&M-CC
New Mexico St 7:00 PM
TX-Pan American
FIU 7:00 PM
Western Ky
Stephen F Austin 7:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Ga Southern 7:15 PM
Louisiana
Ark-Little Rock 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Grambling St 7:30 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Auburn 7:30 PM
Texas A&M
Arizona 8:00 PM
Utah
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
UC Davis 9:00 PM
Cal Poly
New Mexico 9:00 PM
Fresno State
BYU 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Pacific 9:00 PM
San Francisco
Idaho State 9:00 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 9:05 PM
Portland State
UC Riverside 9:30 PM
CS-Northridge
Washington 9:30 PM
USC
CS-Bakersfield 9:30 PM
Seattle
UC Irvine 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 45 FINAL
Stetson 77
Samford 65 FINAL
Mercer 70
Liberty 64 FINAL
Campbell 57
North Texas 48 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
St Francis-NY 62 FINAL
Bryant 52
St Francis-PA 58 FINAL
Robert Morris 73
Long Island 71 FINAL
Sacred Heart 78
Sam Houston St 52 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 60
Kent State 59 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 66
ULM 61 FINAL
Appalachian St 80
Boston U 62 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Nicholls 73 FINAL
McNeese State 68
Akron 35 2nd Half 13:57
Buffalo 51
Ball State 28 2nd Half 15:05
Western Mich 36
MD-Eastern Shore 38 2nd Half
Delaware State 38
Northern Ill 24 2nd Half
Eastern Michigan 26
Bowling Green 29 2nd Half 17:22
Ohio U 40
Central Michigan 36 2nd Half 15:51
Toledo 39
Coppin State 21 2nd Half
Morgan State 38
Bethune-Cookman 44 2nd Half 13:14
NC Central 19
Central Conn St 43 2nd Half
Fairleigh Dickinson 24
Memphis 12 2nd Half 14:18
(1) Connecticut 66
Georgia Tech 31 2nd Half 17:53
Wake Forest 36
East Carolina 34 2nd Half 16:57
Temple 37
Marist 27 2nd Half 17:34
Rider 36
Michigan State 29 2nd Half
Purdue 28
Fairfield 26 1st Half 4:45
Manhattan 20
Niagara 29 2nd Half 19:01
Iona 40
East Tenn St 27 2nd Half 11:07
(18) Chattanooga 44
Furman 38 2nd Half
Wofford 24
Longwood 42 2nd Half 10:32
Charleston Southern 36
UNC-Asheville 60 2nd Half 16:08
Coastal Carolina 37
Northern Ky 46 2nd Half 15:29
USC Upstate 34
Winthrop 27 2nd Half
Presbyterian 29
Western Ill 23 1st Half 4:26
South Dakota 26
Detroit 44 2nd Half
Valparaiso 28
Cleveland State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Lafayette 2:00 PM
Army
Arkansas State 0 1st Half 16:12
Texas State 6
Georgia State 3 1st Half 14:37
Troy 12
IUPUI 0 1st Half 16:59
South Dakota St 6
Tennessee St 8 1st Half 15:28
Belmont 1
Eastern Illinois 4 1st Half 15:49
SIU-Edwardsville 4
Jacksonville St 4 1st Half 15:58
Morehead St 5
Kansas State 4 1st Half 14:04
TCU 14
Cincinnati 2 1st Half 15:31
SMU 3
SE Louisiana 0 1st Half 18:54
Central Arkansas 2
Denver 2 1st Half 16:28
Nebraska Omaha 4
Tulane 6 1st Half 18:08
Tulsa 0
IUPU-Ft Wayne 2:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Air Force 3:00 PM
Utah State
San Diego State 3:00 PM
Boise State
Fresno State 3:00 PM
New Mexico
Florida A&M 3:00 PM
NC A&T
Gonzaga 3:00 PM
BYU
South Florida 3:00 PM
UCF
UCLA 3:00 PM
Washington
(3) Baylor 3:00 PM
Iowa State
Miss Valley St 3:00 PM
Jackson State
Tenn Tech 3:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
UMKC 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Seattle 3:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Texas Southern 3:00 PM
Alabama State
Santa Clara 3:00 PM
St Marys-CA
UNLV 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Savannah State 3:00 PM
SC State
Alcorn State 3:00 PM
Southern U
Bucknell 3:00 PM
American Univ
Oakland 3:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Eastern Washington 3:00 PM
Montana
Idaho 3:00 PM
Montana State
Weber State 3:00 PM
Idaho State
Radford 3:00 PM
High Point
Green Bay 3:30 PM
Youngstown St
Austin Peay 3:30 PM
SE Missouri St
Wagner 3:30 PM
Mount St Marys
Portland 4:00 PM
San Diego
Nevada 4:00 PM
San Jose St
Stephen F Austin 4:00 PM
Houston Baptist
Incarnate Word 4:00 PM
Lamar
Abilene Christian 4:00 PM
New Orleans
Pepperdine 4:00 PM
Loyola Marymount
San Francisco 4:00 PM
Pacific
Prairie View 4:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Hampton 4:00 PM
Howard
Chicago State 4:00 PM
Utah Valley U
Murray State 4:00 PM
UT Martin
Cal Poly 4:00 PM
Cal-Irvine
Marshall 4:00 PM
Florida Atlantic
Portland State 4:00 PM
Sacramento St
UC Santa Barbara 4:00 PM
UC Davis
Western Ky 5:00 PM
FIU
UAB 5:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Georgia Southern 5:00 PM
Louisiana
Grambling 5:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Ark-Little Rock 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Cornell 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Columbia 5:00 PM
Harvard
Brown 5:00 PM
(14) Princeton
USC 5:00 PM
Washington St
(24) California 5:00 PM
(7) Oregon State
Yale 6:00 PM
Penn
Loyola-Maryland 6:00 PM
Navy
Jacksonville 6:00 PM
(21) Fla Gulf Coast
Long Beach St 6:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Rice 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Colgate 6:30 PM
Lehigh
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
Kansas 7:00 PM
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
North Dakota 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Northern Colorado 9:00 PM
Northern Ariz
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 is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close