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

247's Jerry Meyer predicts the Gophers will land a pair of top-50 recruits

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: June 28, 2013 - 5:04 PM

Who doesn’t love a good prediction? Most of us in the sports reporting industry are kind of obsessed with them.

Here’s an interesting one: Jerry Meyer from 247sports.com (who apparently has a 92.3 accuracy rate in these things) is predicting that two major 2014 recruits will find their home with the Gophers.

No -- stop screaming “Tyus! TYUS! TYYYUUUSSSS!!!!”

We’re not talking about him.

But even if they don’t hail from Minnesota, these two prospects -- Isaiah Whitehead (No. 17 on Rivals) and JaQuan Newton (No. 41 on Rivals), a pair of top-50 recruits from the East Coast (represent!) where assistants Kimani Young and Dan McHale are well-networked – would truly be game-changers for the program and would take the pressure off new coach Richard Pitino and the rest of the staff to get the “Big Three” local players (which includes Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis), with whom they’re only beginning relationships.

It’s rumored that Whitehead and Newton want to play together, and if that’s the case, Minnesota could have an advantage since it is one of the only schools currently recruiting them both (Georgetown and Syracuse are as well). But putting the duo in maroon and gold would also mean beating out serious competition. Syracuse, Florida, UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas and Louisville (can Richard Pitino actually beat out his dad on this one???), among others, are hard after Whitehead, while Newton has garnered offers from Nebraska, Penn State, Rutgers, Georgetown, Miami (FL) and Wake Forest, to name a few.

With Pitino sliding in just after this year’s NCAA tournament, the 2014 class will be the new coaching staff’s first chance to really flex its recruiting brawn that has been so discussed. Snagging Whitehead and Newton would do so resoundingly.

Then again, this is just a PREDICTION at this stage -- nothing more, and not a pair of commitments -- meaning that anything can happen. But if you suddenly feel the need to tilt your head back on your office chair, close your eyes and let your imagination run wild with thoughts of these game-changing recruits coming to Minnesota, well, I can’t really blame you.

 

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