Transfer speculation behind him, U's Ahanmisi becomes reliable relief

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 11, 2012 - 5:10 PM

The Gophers point guard's improved defense and shooting has increased Tubby Smith's confidence in him.

hide

Long hours of extra practice with roommate/teammate Austin Hollins have helped Gophers reserve guard Maverick Ahanmisi (13) become a more complete player. He’s shooting 52 percent from the field — up almost 23 percent from last year — and 43.8 percent from three-point range.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Half a year ago, Maverick Ahanmisi's name was surfacing in the media, but not for the reasons he would want.

After two seasons, the reserve point guard hadn't shown much improvement and with forward Trevor Mbakwe contemplating making his sixth-year return, Ahanmisi became the subject of speculation on whether the Gophers would open this season with his name still on the roster.

Would he transfer?

Seven months later, heading into Tuesday's game against North Dakota State -- a team against which he scored his career high with 13 points a year ago -- it's not a question (although if you bring it up, Ahanmisi will adamantly profess his affection for the program).

It's obvious just in watching how much Ahanmisi has improved on defense and in running the offense. He's been the clear alternative when Andre Hollins is in foul trouble or struggling to take care of the ball, and for the most part, Ahanmisi's effectively done that. Ahanmisi's stat line has increased almost all the way around, nearly doubling his production from a year ago. And Gophers coach Tubby Smith sings the California native's praises after nearly every game, clearly impressed with his overall effort this year.

"He has really been very efficient," Smith said. "That gives me confidence to play him. And there may be times you might see both [Ahanmisi and Andre Hollins playing together], especially with the way he's shooting the ball. ...

"He's really off to a good start. He's having a good all-around game. And plus, his attitude. He just has a great demeanor about him. He's done everything we've asked him to do. He doesn't complain. Doesn't make excuses. He just works."

Actually, this year, Ahanmisi has worked more than ever. Although the junior claims he didn't hear much about the spring rumors and questions, he also isn't shy about saying he went into the summer especially focused and driven. Every day during the summer, he would come down to Williams Arena with roommate Austin Hollins and take at least 50 shots from behind the arc.

"I was practicing a lot [before], but I feel like this year I was more focused in fixing my mechanics of my shot and just making my range deeper so that when it comes to the game, I'm ready to shoot," Ahanmisi said.

The biggest change for the junior, he said, was getting more elevation on his jumper -- something he didn't need as much in high school, but imperative for a 6-2 college guard.

The result has been Ahanmisi's points per game jumping from 2.7 a year ago to 4.9 this season. Even more impressively, he's shooting 52 percent from the field (nearly 23 percentage points up from a year ago) and a team-best 43.8 percent (7-for-16) from three-point range.

"I think Mav is just playing with a lot more confidence this year," senior forward Rodney Williams said. "Those two [Ahanmisi and Austin Hollins] after practice, they're always up there shooting after practice by themselves, but I think them two being roommates -- Austin being one of the best shooters --and Mav spending time with him in the gym, that definitely helps."

  • GOPHERS MEN'S BASKETBALL

    Up next: 8 tonight vs. North Dakota State • TV: BTN (1500-AM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Washington
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
New York
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Brooklyn
Charlotte 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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 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