• Gophers football coach Jerry Kill is excited about a number of young players who have shown tremendous improvement this spring. Among those players is 6-0, 194-pound sophomore defensive back Eric Murray of Milwaukee Riverside University High School. “He’s a young man … who is a tremendous athlete. He has a pro-form body. We’re excited about the progress he’s made. He’s somebody that a lot of people don’t hear about a lot, but Eric has done a great job.”
• Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt sang the praises of former Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith when he introduced Smith as the new coach of the Red Raiders. “We have a leader and a head coach who has served for 22 years as head coach in college basketball, and out of those 22 years, he has been to the NCAA tournament 17 times,” Hocutt said. “And we have a head coach who went to the NCAA tournament this year and advanced in the NCAA tournament.”
• Catching up with former Gophers hockey players: Former team captain Erik Haula made his pro debut for the Houston Aeros, the Wild’s American Hockey League affiliate, this week against Oklahoma City. Haula scored a point in his first game, assisting on a goal by Kyle Medvec in the first period. … Zach Budish has now played three games for the Milwaukee Admirals, but hasn’t tallied any points yet. … Defenseman Nate Schmidt has played two games for the Hershey Bears and has two assists.
• There are now three former Gophers on the Fort Myers Miracle, the Twins’ Class A affiliate in the Florida State League: Kyle Knudson, Adam Pettersen and Michael Kvasnicka. Pettersen, a shortstop, is hitting .231 through five games with one run scored. Knudson, a catcher, is hitting .200 through three games with a home run. Kvasnicka, an outfielder who was traded to the Twins in March from the Houston Astros, hasn’t played yet because he is on the disabled list.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. email@example.com