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.

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Gophers excited to show fans first glimpse of Pitino ball

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players, Richard Pitino Updated: October 28, 2013 - 9:15 PM

It’s going to take some time for us to get a full picture of how quickly and adequately the team has picked up coach Richard Pitino’s new offensive system.

Can the Gophers turn perceived strengths – running and shooting, which are the pillars of a run-and-gun style – into actual strengths? Can they have enough balance to execute in the half court and under the boards as well as in transition? Can this system work immediately with this group of players?

Those are all questions that won’t be answered, at least in full, more a while.

Our first glimpses – against opponents that aren’t teammates – however, begin later this week.

Monday’s media day featured excitement across the board,  both from players, who are getting “sick” of playing against each other and Pitino, who says his squad is in tip-top shape and eager to improve as the Gophers barrel toward the exhibition opener against Cardinal Stritch on Friday.

Pitino hasn’t named a starting rotation yet – and may tinker long past Friday, saying that the first exhibition’s opening five might not be indicative of what he does the rest of the non-conference schedule, and the season.

“I may try to do something different just because we have an opportunity to kind of dabble with that a little bit,” the coach said. “It changes every week. Guys may have a good practice, somebody may not have a good practice. I think it’s probably not beneficial for our basketball team if I say this is the starting five because certain guys may get discouraged and they want to work their way into the starting lineup. So it changes week by week, opponent by opponent as well.”

But as far as where the team is as a whole at this point is encouraging, Pitino said.

“I love the new energy the coaching staff has brought here,” Andre Hollins said. “That just fits perfectly with our new style of play. Because you have to have energy to do it. We press all the time, we’re running up and down the floor. And that is going to make us difficult to play again, because we practice that way every day. I love this style. It’s a different philosophy; I had a hard time grasping it at first. But right now I’m liking it a lot.”

Florida International transfer Malik Smith, the only player who has experienced Pitino’s system live said that the Gophers are picking up the new style much quicker than his FIU bunch did a year ago, noting that traps – perfecting them and knowing when to execute them – are still posing the biggest challenge.

“We didn’t have the amount of talent that we have here,” Smith said. “Around this time last year at FIU, we were still putting things, putting new things in. We pretty much have all of our offense in right now and everybody’s picking it up just fine.”

Other quick notes from today:

  • All said and done, Mo Walker has lost 60 pounds. The physical transformation is striking. The big man said he often gets mistaken for redshirt freshman Charles Buggs at a distance now.
  • Buggs, on the other hand, has gained a total of about 20. He and Walker have been on campus since May, working out together, albeit doing very different things.
  • Walk-on Jasen Baranowski is officially on the Gophers roster. Said Pitino of the guard: “We really threw him into the fire, just said get in there and kind of saw what he could do. He’s been playing well, but then he hurt his shoulder, so he hasn’t been going as much. He’s a great kid, good addition to the program, understands what this is all about, loves playing the game, so he’ll help us.”
  • The most improved player of the offseason? That award goes to walk-on Kendall Shell. “By far,” Pitino said. “When I took the job, he was light years away from anything. He was bad. I tell him all the time, he was not a great player. And he’s lost 25-30 pounds. Everyone talks about Mo, but Kendall’s in probably the best shape of anyone on the team. He comes to work every day.”


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Houston 7:00 PM
Indiana 7:00 PM
Utah 7:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Portland 8:00 PM
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
LA Clippers 9:30 PM
Golden State
San Jose 6:00 PM
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Toronto 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Detroit 6:30 PM
Arizona 7:00 PM
Carolina 7:00 PM
Philadelphia 7:30 PM
Vancouver 7:30 PM
Florida 8:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
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Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
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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 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




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