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

Minnesota came in late to Lourawls Nairn's recruitment, but has impressed quickly

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: August 23, 2013 - 11:46 AM

Minnesota hasn’t been recruiting Lourawls Nairn as long as the other two schools in his top 3 – and the difference is almost two years with both Indiana and Oklahoma each first offering the point guard’s sophomore year.

But while the Gophers’ new staff might be a little late to the party by default – starting to show interest after seeing Nairn at the Peach Jam in July -- they haven’t missed any steps recently in his recruitment.

With official visits approaching, Nairn said that it was Minnesota, of the three, recruiting him the hardest right now.

So how did a program so new to the process break a top three for Nairn, who was also offered by Kansas, Kansas State, Creighton, Iowa and Arkansas?

“I think just because of the way they came about it,” Nairn said. “Ever since they saw me, I’ve been in contact with them just about every day, coach [Richard] Pitino and assistant coach [Ben] Johnson. It was just consistent. And I felt like they were supposed to be there. It’s all of the assistant coaches, and not even everything about basketball – just random stuff, how am I doing, how was my day, stuff like that.”

Originally from the Bahamas, Nairn, was named for his father, Lourawls, who was named for Lou Rawls, a singer-songwriter-actor in the 1960s and 70s. But the rising high school senior now goes by ‘Tum Tum,’ a nickname from the movie 3 Ninjas and one of its smallest characters, ‘Tum Tum.’

At 5-10, Nairn is still not very big, but he is perhaps one of the fastest guards available and has the skill to really push the action. As such, Nairn has only seriously considered schools that will integrate a style of play he thinks he can be useful in. Nairn says he’s not selecting a school based on where he thinks he can start – “because anywhere I go I’m going to have to compete for a starting position,” he said – but the ability to play and contribute is important, something he thinks he has opportunity for at all three schools.

“I just think, I mean coach Pitino tells me he wants to play like his dad, which is fast, uptempo,” Nairn said. “And that’s my game, I like to play fast, uptempo basketball. I’m not going to go anywhere if they don’t play my style of play. That’s what I like about them, that’s what I like about all the schools in my top 3.”

Nairn is visiting Minnesota first, arriving on campus next Thursday for the football opener against UNLV. He will visit Oklahoma on Sept. 6 and Indiana on Sept. 20. But Nairn, by all accounts a very thorough individual, doesn’t anticipate committing on the spot at any school. After visiting all three, he thinks he’ll take a week off, talk with his coach, and simply "know" which school is right for him. Nairn doesn’t have a deadline for his final decision but anticipates making it before the fall signing period.

“I’m not stressed out at all – I haven’t stressed out this whole recruiting process just because I have a small circle,” Nairn said. “I don’t have a lot of people in my ear telling me all kind of different things, just me, my high school coach and my AAU coach. I can’t say it’s going to be an easy decision – I know it’s going to be tough – but hasn’t come to a point where it’s stressing me out at all. I’ve been able to sleep at night, I haven’t had to worry about it, I’ve still had fun.

“Those are three bigtime schools, so there’s going to be great campuses and stuff like that. I’ve just got to go in and see what kind of relationship I’ll have with the head coach. I can’t really base it on one thing. I know all the schools are going to go all out for my visit. So I prayed about it, it’s in God’s hands and after my visits I think I’ll know where I belong out of these three schools.”

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