Gophers basketball changing of the guards: Coleman out; Smith in

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 16, 2013 - 1:59 PM

Before guard Joe Coleman’s release from the Gophers basketball team was announced, another player already had committed.

hide

Iowa players Aaron White (30) and Anthony Clemmons (5) scramble for a loose ball with Joe Coleman.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

The new-look Gophers men’s basketball program still is changing.

On Wednesday, the University of Minnesota officially announced it has released Joe Coleman from his scholarship just hours after news broke that another player, Malik Smith, had become coach Richard Pitino’s third recruit for the 2013-14 season.

Pitino issued a short statement on Coleman’s departure, which was expected after it was confirmed Tuesday he was seeking his release: “We wish him the very best in the future. We appreciate the contributions he has given the program the last two years.”

Coleman’s plans are unknown.

‘‘After much consideration, I have decided that transferring will be best for me,’’ Coleman said in a text message. ‘‘This was not an easy decision by any means, and is something I have been considering since before Coach Pitino arrived at Minnesota. I wish Coach Pitino, his staff, and my former teammates nothing but the best. I also want to wholeheartedly thank the Minnesota fans, staff, and students for making my first two years of college so unforgettable.’’

Smith, a transfer from Florida International who played there under Pitino, has not officially been announced as a new member of the Gophers, but he tweeted that he committed and reiterated that in a subsequent interview Wednesday.

“Once I knew [Pitino] was interested, I pretty much knew I was going to go,” Smith said.

The two moves offer a glimpse into the type of roster Pitino is assembling for next season and perhaps into the future. The three players that Pitino has commitments from so far — Daquein McNeil and Dre Mathieu have already signed — are either very quick, good shooters or both.

The 6-4 Coleman, a former Hopkins standout, was a Rivals.com top 150 recruit in 2011. But he attempted just 35 three-point shots in his two seasons with the Gophers, making 10 of them (29.6 percent). He also had more turnovers than assists both seasons.

The 6-2 Smith, who spent his freshman and sophomore seasons at two junior colleges, has one year of eligibility left after playing as a junior last season at FIU. He averaged 14.1 points, making 96 of 265 (36.2 percent) of his three-point attempts. Andre Hollins led Minnesota with 81 three-pointers last season, while Austin Hollins had 53. Nobody else made more than 19.

“He’s a demanding coach,” Smith said of Pitino. “He’s going to get the best out of you. … I think his system works with anybody. It’s very up-tempo, fast-paced, a lot of pressing, a lot of shots and it’s proven to work.”

Smith should be eligible to play immediately because of a waiver for players who are transferring from a school that is ineligible for postseason play. Florida International AD Pete Garcia said in April that the school likely will be hit with an NCAA postseason ban in 2013-14 after yet-to-be released academic progress rate scores come out. The school’s APR trouble stems from a period under former coach Isiah Thomas, not Pitino.

That specific waiver would seem to pave the way for another Gophers target at FIU — Rakeem Buckles — to join if he is interested. The 6-7, 215-pound forward is a graduate student with one year of eligibility.

Bringing in Smith and Buckles would help the Gophers short-term while also leaving them loaded with scholarships for the talented class of 2014. The Gophers will automatically have two scholarships available for 2014 with the graduations that year of Austin Hollins and Maverick Ahanmisi, and would gain three more with Coleman (a junior-to-be) leaving and both Buckles and Smith only having a single year of eligibility.

  • related content

  • Foster to follow Tubby Smith to Texas Tech

    Wednesday May 15, 2013

    Foster was one of two recruits originally signed at Minnesota for the 2013-14 season.

  • The Gophers’ Joe Coleman was an athletic open court player but averaged only 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds last season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 12:05 PM
Philadelphia
LA Clippers 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 2:30 PM
Houston
Golden State 5:00 PM
Boston
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Indiana
Portland 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Orlando
Oklahoma City 5:30 PM
LA Lakers
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Tampa Bay 4:00 PM
Florida
Columbus 4:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 1:00 PM
Connecticut
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Niagara
Marist 1:00 PM
Rider
Iona 1:00 PM
Saint Peters
Oregon State 2:00 PM
California
South Florida 2:00 PM
Houston
Marquette 2:30 PM
Providence
Michigan State 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Siena 3:30 PM
Monmouth
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
Wake Forest
Oregon 6:00 PM
Stanford
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 11:00 AM
Providence
Binghamton 12:00 PM
UMBC
Elon 12:00 PM
Hofstra
Virginia Tech 12:00 PM
Boston College
(8) Louisville 12:00 PM
Virginia
Texas 12:00 PM
West Virginia
Creighton 12:00 PM
Villanova
Seton Hall 12:00 PM
Butler
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
(5) Maryland 12:00 PM
(25) Northwestern
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
La Salle
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Rhode Island 1:00 PM
Massachusetts
Richmond 1:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Davidson 1:00 PM
Fordham
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Duquesne
George Mason 1:00 PM
(22) George Washington
Indiana 1:00 PM
(20) Rutgers
(12) Texas A&M 1:00 PM
LSU
Ole Miss 1:00 PM
(11) Miss State
Clemson 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Maine 1:00 PM
New Hampshire
Vermont 1:00 PM
Albany
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
(4) Notre Dame 1:00 PM
NC State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Penn State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Hartford
Northeastern 1:00 PM
William & Mary
St Johns 1:00 PM
Xavier
James Madison 1:00 PM
Delaware
Towson 2:00 PM
Drexel
Illinois State 2:00 PM
Bradley
Southern Ill 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Northern Iowa 2:00 PM
Wichita State
Minnesota 2:00 PM
(17) Iowa
(15) North Carolina 2:00 PM
(16) Duke
Alabama 2:00 PM
Auburn
(9) Florida State 2:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Arkansas 2:00 PM
Missouri
Georgia 2:00 PM
Florida
Dayton 2:00 PM
Saint Louis
Drake 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
(10) Arizona State
(19) Stanford 3:00 PM
Oregon
Marquette 3:00 PM
DePaul
Southern Miss 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Vanderbilt 4:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
(2) South Carolina 4:00 PM
(13) Kentucky
Utah 4:00 PM
Arizona
Ohio State 4:00 PM
Nebraska
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close