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.

Staff writer Michael Rand contributed to this report.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What's your favorite Gophers football uniform colors?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close