Gophers will be busy as late signing period begins in men's basketball

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 17, 2013 - 6:36 AM

After two players de-committed and a third chose another school, the Gophers have no recruits coming in for next men’s basketball season.

 

When Alvin Ellis and Alex Foster inked their Gophers commitments in the early signing period, and targeted prep star Gavin Schilling chose Michigan State last month, the late signing period looked as if it would be somewhat quiet for Minnesota.

But with new coach Richard Pitino being hired and Ellis and Foster each de-committing — leaving the Gophers with four available scholarships and no incoming recruits for 2013 — Wednesday’s first day of late signing instead likely will start a fast-and-furious endeavor to fill out next season’s roster.

Pitino was forced into the same scramble last year when he was hired as head coach at Florida International in mid-April. Six players subsequently left, leaving him with even more holes. That hasn’t happened at Minnesota, but Pitino said Monday he is still hoping to add players who fit his up-tempo style.

“That was why we won last year at FIU,” said Pitino, who led the Golden Panthers to an 18-14 record. “We brought in guys who fit the style, and I think the style took over. We have to do the same here in a couple weeks.”

That said, he’s not just looking for warm bodies.

“We have some nice pieces still here. Being able to work the guys out has helped. I can get a feel for what I want and what I think we need,” he said. “I don’t want to take the wrong guy. I don’t want to just fill a roster [spot]. Scholarships, they’re like gold.”

Per NCAA rules, Pitino cannot comment on specific recruits. Making matters a little more complicated is that Monday to Thursday this week is a “dead” period for recruiting. Coaches can contact players on the phone, but they cannot see them in person. Here are a few players Minnesota could target:

• Point guard Shane Rector de-committed from Rutgers and is on the Gophers’ radar. In addition, 6-3 combo guard Daquein McNeil, a three-star recruit Pitino landed at FIU, reportedly is seeking a release from his national letter of intent and could be a possibility here.

• Junior college forward Cameron Forte said Pitino has carried over his offer to him from FIU to Minnesota. The 6-6 Forte averaged 23 points and eight rebounds as a sophomore at Howard College (Big Spring, Texas).

• Ellis has received interest from multiple schools since reopening his recruitment, and while there is no current knowledge that the Gophers are getting reinvolved, the 6-4 shooting guard still could be an option.

• FIU power forward Rakeem Buckles reportedly has expressed interest in transferring to the Gophers, and could make a lot of sense considering Trevor Mbakwe, Rodney Williams and Andre Ingram are all exiting. It’s unclear whether Buckles, who transferred from Louisville to FIU when Pitino was hired, would be eligible right away.

Buckles has only one year of eligibility left, so if he could play immediately it would free up another scholarship for the deep 2014 class, which includes local top-50 players Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis. If Pitino could land Buckles and another player or two, he could stockpile scholarships for 2014 while addressing current areas of concern.

“We certainly have immediate needs now that we need to try to address,” Pitino said.

Etc.

• Ben Johnson, the ex-Gopher and DeLaSalle standout, was officially announced Tuesday as a member of Pitino’s coaching staff. Johnson was an assistant at Nebraska last season, where he worked with Huskers guards and was the recruiting coordinator. “In addition to being a proud Minnesota alum, he brings the work ethic I am looking for and a knowledge of the university, the Midwest and the Big Ten Conference,” Pitino said in a news release.

• Mike Balado was hired last week as Pitino’s director of basketball operations at Minnesota, but his tenure here could be short-lived. FIU just hired former Norfolk State coach Anthony Evans as its new head coach, and Balado — an assistant at FIU under Pitino last season — is in the mix for a higher-ranking job on Evans’ staff.

 

Staff writer Michael Rand contributed to this report.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 50 2nd Half 7:26
Chattanooga 57
Kansas 52 2nd Half 11:14
Rhode Island 38
Wisconsin 22 1st Half 6:56
Georgetown 23
FIU 22 1st Half 4:23
USC Upstate 22
Long Island 3 1st Half 17:39
Stony Brook 4
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 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
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 23 1st Half 3:36
Washington 28
Wichita State 10 1st Half 6:33
Fla Gulf Coast 15
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close