Hartman: Gophers basketball needs more size in next year's recruits

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 21, 2014 - 2:47 PM

Two foreign-born big men, 7-1 Anas Osama Mahmoud and 6-11 Bakary Konate, visited the campus this week.

It’s been a tough week for Gophers basketball coaches past and present.

Tubby Smith’s Texas Tech team had No. 8-ranked Kansas beat with two seconds left Tuesday before Andrew Wiggins scored on a layup giving the Jayhawks a 64-63 victory in Lubbock, Texas.

And current Gophers coach Richard Pitino, whose team has played some great basketball, played its worst game of the season Wednesday in losing at home to Illinois, which had lost 10 of its previous 11 games and recorded only three Big Ten victories [two against Penn State and one against Indiana] before the Maroon and Gold fiasco.

“We just did some unthinkable things,” Pitino said after the 62-49 loss.

Well, the Gophers’ story has been that they win when junior point guard DeAndre Mathieu is leading the team on the floor and is also one of the leading scorers. And the Gophers don’t win when Mathieu is forced to sit, as he did against the Illini after he picked up his second foul at the 12-minute mark in the first half. The Gophers led 14-3 at the time.

So now it’s time to check on the future of the Gophers. They have four games left, including three with ranked opponents — at No. 24 Ohio State, home vs. No. 15 Iowa and at No. 20 Michigan — before finishing the regular season with a home game against Penn State.

The only chance the Gophers have of making the NCAA tournament is if they do well in the Big Ten tournament, knock off at least one of the highly ranked teams they have left on their schedule and beat Penn State.

One of the Gophers’ benefits going forward is they only have three seniors coming off the roster next year in starting guard Austin Hollins, sixth man Malik Smith and reserve guard Maverick Ahanmisi.

They have already filled those three open slots with recruits Josh Martin, a 6-8 power forward from Bothell (Wash.) High School; Nate Mason, a 6-1 point guard out of Arlington Country Day High School in Jacksonville, Fla.; and Carlos Morris, a 6-5 junior college shooting guard at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. The Gophers have another scholarships open after Wally Ellenson deciding to leave the team to focus on his track and field career.

Martin continues to be the standout for Bothell, who faced Roosevelt in the Class 4A, District 2 playoffs, late Thursday night, with the winner of that game advancing to a winner-to-regional, loser-out game. Martin scored a game-high 24 points in a 57-52 victory over Eastlake in the consolation bracket semifinals to keep Bothell’s season alive.

Mason’s Arlington Country Day squad is currently 23-3 overall and Mason had 29 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals in a 99-34 victory over Life Christian on Tuesday. Mason is generally considered one of the top-40 point guards in the country by recruiting services such as Scout.com and ESPN.com.

Meanwhile, Morris was considered a Rivals Top-150 player when he came out of high school, and he had planned to attend South Carolina before going to junior college for two seasons. Morris is playing with teammates who have committed to Florida State and Connecticut. He is averaging 15.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

When Morris signed with the Gophers he told Rivals.com that, “I just felt like Minnesota was the best spot for me. Coach Pitino is young but very experienced and we are going to do some big things. When I was there on my visit, I liked everything. There was nothing to dislike about Minnesota.”

When it comes to the other two scholarships Pitino has available, he has been targeting a couple of big men who could really help. Anas Osama Mahmoud, a 7-1 Egyptian-born player from West Oaks Academy in Orlando, visited the Gophers this week. He is also considering offers from Arizona State, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Louisville, North Carolina State and Texas A&M, among others.

Also in town this week on an official visit was Bakary Konate, a 6-11 center from Mali who also has offers from Louisville and Mississippi. Konate is playing at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan.

It’s apparent Pitino needs to add length with these last two scholarships available to go with the guards that he recruited in Mason and Morris if the Gophers are to contend next season.

Jottings

• Former Gophers wide receiver Eric Decker spoke with SiriusXM radio Tuesday and said that while he wants to stay with the Broncos, he has other priorities to consider as well. “I would like to figure something out and stay [in Denver],” he said. “But at the same time, my priority is taking care of my family. Me and my wife are having a kid mid-March and it’s even more difficult because I want to have her be comfortable. Those are kind of the added stresses to this process.”

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Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
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Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Iowa
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(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
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Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
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Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
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BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
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UNLV
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Calgary
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Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

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