This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Why Tubby Smith seems more relaxed than ever

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: January 6, 2013 - 10:56 AM

Want proof that Gophers coach Tubby Smith has relaxed this season, that he’s having fun and enjoying this personable squad?

Here you go:

Andre Hollins often calls his own plays.

Think about that for a minute. Smith – a notoriously hands-on coach, as I wrote in today’s Star Tribune – has to an extent, given Hollins, a sophomore, the reins to run the team.

Now, it helps that Hollins has been very hands-on himself in trying to fully understand what Smith wants in his offense, talking with the coach about situational decisions and studying the plays.

But the fact of the matter is the coach hasn’t given such leeway simply because of Hollins and his hard work and improvement. Smith trusts the entire team in a way he visibly didn’t a year ago. That, no doubt, contributes greatly to what those who have been around Smith for many years say has been his most relaxed persona at Minnesota.

It’s clear that he truly likes this team. Not only does he trust their athletic and on-court ability, but he believes in them as human beings. That’s why he gave Trevor Mbakwe a last-and-final-this-is-really-the-last chance – he’s part of this team. That’s why he gushes about the team’s character and chemistry, every chance he gets. That’s why he now allows media to go into the locker rooms after games, for the first time in his tenure. That’s why he’ll linger after interviews, to answer any last questions.

And that’s why Smith has stepped back a bit, loosened the reins and let the Gophers play their game.

The result is a more confident team, a smarter team and seemingly, a happier Smith.

Minnesota seems to be thriving in that environment, with the roster of players stepping up its game almost all the way across. Experience matters plenty, but so does the learning atmosphere, and this one seems as interactive and open-minded as any.

Is this new Tubby a factor in this team’s excellent 2012-13 play? Or is this attitude of his the result of this team, allowing him to ease up on the controls a little more with every win? Either way, it contributes to a squad and coach that is more fun to watch, more interesting to talk to, more fun to be around.


New England 14 3rd Qtr
Seattle 14
Miami 83 FINAL
Boston 75
LA Lakers 80 FINAL
New York 92
Arizona 3 FINAL
Montreal 2
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Washington 3
Nashville 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Vancouver 2
Miami-Florida 54 FINAL
Florida State 55
Oakland 96 FINAL
Youngstown St 80
Cincinnati 46 FINAL
East Carolina 50
Michigan 66 FINAL
Michigan State 76
Marist 75 FINAL
Canisius 67
Fordham 77 FINAL
Dayton 101
Manhattan 87 FINAL
Monmouth 76
Quinnipiac 100 FINAL
Niagara 105
Utah 67 FINAL
USC 39
Connecticut 68 FINAL
Houston 70
California 90 FINAL
Washington 88
North Dakota St 64 FINAL
Western Ill 62
Penn State 65 FINAL
(22) Rutgers 76
(14) Texas 59 FINAL
TCU 64
Coll of Charleston 49 FINAL
Towson 71
Cornell 53 FINAL
Yale 60
Xavier 68 FINAL
Providence 57
Drexel 61 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 44
Stony Brook 60 FINAL
New Hampshire 52
Maine 52 FINAL
Albany 44
Miami-Florida 66 FINAL
Pittsburgh 81
(21) Georgia 72 FINAL
(10) Kentucky 80
Arizona 69 FINAL
Colorado 81
Wake Forest 63 FINAL
(4) Notre Dame 92
Loyola-Chicago 56 FINAL
Illinois State 72
(24) Oklahoma 69 FINAL
West Virginia 78
St Johns 73 FINAL
Seton Hall 78
Delaware 73 FINAL
Hofstra 62
Binghamton 49 FINAL
UMass Lowell 66
Vermont 49 FINAL
Hartford 60
William & Mary 72 FINAL
Northeastern 66
Boston College 60 FINAL
(16) North Carolina 72
Virginia 77 FINAL
Clemson 72
(2) Connecticut 83 FINAL
Temple 49
Arkansas 53 FINAL
Alabama 42
Virginia Tech 71 FINAL
Georgia Tech 79
Kansas 58 FINAL
(3) Baylor 66
Canisius 51 FINAL
Rider 52
Monmouth 52 FINAL
Fairfield 54
Quinnipiac 81 FINAL
Saint Peters 50
Butler 55 FINAL
Creighton 62
Wichita State 61 FINAL
Drake 64
Evansville 52 FINAL
Indiana State 67
(18) Miss State 67 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
Villanova 47 FINAL
DePaul 49
Georgetown 73 FINAL
Marquette 80
North Texas 55 FINAL
Rice 58
Auburn 45 FINAL
(12) Texas A&M 78
(11) Arizona State 58 FINAL
Utah 48
Missouri State 56 FINAL
Northern Iowa 64
Michigan 60 FINAL
(15) Nebraska 75
Minnesota 49 FINAL
Northwestern 70
Wisconsin 73 FINAL
Illinois 62
Bradley 59 FINAL
Southern Ill 76
Florida 67 FINAL
Vanderbilt 58
(20) Iowa 88 FINAL
(5) Maryland 93
(1) South Carolina 77 FINAL
Ole Miss 59
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question