Yes, in the days when everything wasn’t a conflict of interest, you could be friends with athletes in a way you can’t today. But I still have a close relationship with Mayasich, and it’s great to see the university honor him.
• The University of Minnesota Board of Regents is expected to approve the agreement between the university and the Vikings for the NFL team to play two seasons at TCF Bank Stadium while the Vikings’ new stadium is being built. The agreement will make the stadium better by bringing in a heated field, 2,200 more seats in the open end of the stadium, a big improvement of the concessions stands and heat in the stadium concourses.
• Former Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith got his most impressive victory with Texas Tech when the Red Raiders upset Oklahoma 68-60 in Norman, Okla., on Wednesday. Oklahoma had only one other home loss this season, a 90-83 loss to Kansas in January. Smith and the Red Raiders have won three consecutive Big 12 Conference games and are now at 5-6 and seventh in the league. Smith will face former Timberwolves player and executive Fred Hoiberg and the No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.
• NewJersey.com ran an article on former Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson, who has transferred to Rutgers and spent time working out with former Rutgers coach Terry Shea, now a quarterback trainer in Phoenix. Shea said this about Nelson: “I really liked him. I liked his work ethic. He was bright, intelligent. He carries a 3.6 GPA out of high school and college, so he’s got that innate intelligence that you like. But he’s got a really good quarterback IQ. He knows and understands the game.”
• Linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who recently signed with the Vikings, was defensive captain of the Gophers in 2009 and a real leader. He played for the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year and had 52 tackles and a team-leading three interceptions.
• While there has been some criticism of the Timberwolves’ 2013 draft, President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders has contended from the time he drafted UCLA swingman Shabazz Muhammad — who scored 12 points in 17 minutes against Portland on Saturday — that maybe if Muhammad gets a chance to play, he will contribute. ”There was a good opportunity out there and it was a good opportunity for me,” Muhammad said.
• Former Minnesota Mr. Basketball Kevin Noreen, who broke the state scoring record with an unofficial total of 4,086 points at Minnesota Transitions, is averaging only 2.1 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for West Virginia.
• The Positive Coaching Alliance Minnesota will have a “Breakfast with the Champions” event Feb. 19 at 7:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Club at Target Field. Gophers football coach Jerry Kill, Eden Prairie football coach Mike Grant and Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve will take part in a panel discussion.
• Look for Melvin Holland Jr. from Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va., to fill some of the holes the Gophers have had at wide receiver. The 6-3, 190-pounder led his team to a 13-2 record and, while his team lost the state title game to L.C. Bird High School, Holland caught five passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
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