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.”

• Jim Dowdle, who helped turn the Chicago Tribune Co. into a multimedia conglomerate and worked for the Hubbard Broadcasting Co. in Minneapolis, died Monday. Dowdle played a significant role in the sports media landscape when he made the decision to hire announcer Harry Caray away from the White Sox in 1982 to call Cubs games on WGN. Dowdle was also the man responsible for getting Twins General Manager Andy MacPhail to leave here and join the Cubs as president and CEO in 1994.

• Wednesday night was a tremendous statistical game for the Timberwolves as they defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Pacers 104-91. Kevin Love had 42 points and 16 rebounds; he now leads the NBA in double-doubles with 44. He also recorded his eighth consecutive game with 25 or more points and 15 rebounds, the longest such streak in the NBA since Shaquille O’Neal did it in January of 2005. Point guard Ricky Rubio, meanwhile, tied a franchise record with 17 assists, equaling the Pacers’ team total.

• Minneapolis Southwest is starting a high school athletics hall of fame. The school has an especially rich track and hockey tradition. Stanley Cup champion Tom Chorske, 1960 Olympic gold medal winner Dick Meredith and hockey coach Dave Peterson, who was the head coach of the 1988 and 1992 Olympic hockey teams, all went to Southwest. The hall of fame committee has started a website called SWHSHOF.com, where people can vote on who should be inducted into the first class.

• While the Twins are gearing up to start spring training in Fort Myers, the Gophers baseball team (3-0) is also in the city to start a three-game series with Creighton this weekend.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Utah 20 1st Qtr 2:27
Orlando 16
Charlotte 26 1st Qtr 2:07
Philadelphia 24
Brooklyn 6:30 PM
Cleveland
Washington 6:30 PM
Miami
Minnesota 6:30 PM
Boston
Toronto 6:30 PM
Detroit
Chicago 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:00 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Denver
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
Tampa Bay 0 1st Prd 8:37
New Jersey 1
Anaheim 6:30 PM
Ottawa
NY Islanders 6:30 PM
Detroit
Boston 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Dallas 8:00 PM
Calgary
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 41 2nd Half 12:32
Radford 52
Stillman 5 1st Half 10:59
Alabama 14
Case Western Reserve 21 1st Half 7:49
Bucknell 27
Niagara 10 1st Half 11:00
Buffalo 15
SD Christian 12 1st Half 4:23
UC Santa Barbara 26
Concordia (MI) 18 1st Half 7:12
Central Mich 29
Northern Ill 17 1st Half 8:20
Dartmouth 17
North Florida 22 1st Half 8:13
Florida A&M 10
Hiwassee 14 1st Half 7:03
Gardner-Webb 38
Tennessee St 16 1st Half 8:56
Hampton 10
NC A&T 13 1st Half 10:05
Kent State 10
Central Penn College 23 1st Half 8:34
Liberty 28
Eastern Ky 14 1st Half 9:36
Miami-Florida 9
Northern Ky 29 1st Half 7:07
Morehead State 14
Northern Ariz 18 1st Half 3:44
Norfolk State 29
MD-Eastern Shore 17 1st Half 8:35
Old Dominion 20
St Marys-CA 15 1st Half 9:20
St Johns 6
Clemson 11 1st Half 7:44
South Carolina 20
Tenn Tech 13 1st Half 7:49
Tennessee 14
Washington-MD 10 1st Half 9:00
William & Mary 26
Bethune-Cookman 6:30 PM
Mercer
Furman 6:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
South Dakota St 6:30 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Milligan 7:00 PM
Lamar
LSU-Alexandria 7:00 PM
ULM
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Chattanooga 7:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
Seattle 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Lipscomb 7:00 PM
Princeton
Winthrop 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
Dickinson State 7:00 PM
North Dakota
New Orleans 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
Creighton
Colorado State 8:00 PM
Denver
Alabama A&M 8:00 PM
Marquette
Ark-Pine Bluff 8:00 PM
Texas Tech
Eastern Wash 9:00 PM
California
Idaho State 9:05 PM
Utah State
Arizona 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 10:59 PM
Chaminade
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
UCLA 61 2nd Half 8:46
Samford 44
Mobile 28 2nd Half 5:07
Alabama State 64
Nicholls 27 2nd Half
Texas Tech 39
Toledo 27 2nd Half 20:00
Nevada 26
UMass Lowell 20 2nd Half
(13) Duke 50
St Marys-CA 11 1st Half 9:00
Virginia 19
McNeese State 10 1st Half 9:49
Rice 8
McMurry 21 1st Half 6:31
Houston Baptist 22
NJIT 14 1st Half 7:37
Seton Hall 27
(6) North Carolina 12 1st Half 13:16
Maine 0
Lafayette 17 1st Half 11:33
Stony Brook 8
Siena 14 1st Half 7:32
Binghamton 16
Longwood 11 1st Half 10:46
Clemson 17
Savannah State 11 1st Half 11:25
Florida State 19
(19) Syracuse 15 1st Half 8:14
(9) Baylor 19
Buffalo 12 1st Half 9:13
Manhattan 9
Canisius 8 1st Half 7:36
Michigan 35
Davidson 20 1st Half 8:51
NC State 27
Northern Ky 19 1st Half 8:57
Delaware 16
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Austin Peay
(25) DePaul 6:30 PM
(2) Connecticut
Ohio U 0 1st Half 20:00
La Salle 0
Florida Atlantic 7:00 PM
Long Beach St
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Tulane
Miss Valley St 7:00 PM
Memphis
Ark-Pine Bluff 7:00 PM
UAB
Bowling Green 7:05 PM
Illinois State
Arkansas State 7:05 PM
Missouri State
ULM 7:05 PM
Wichita State
(16) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Southern Ill
Utah Valley U 8:30 PM
Montana
Pacific 9:00 PM
New Mexico St
No Dakota State 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Utah State 9:00 PM
Sacramento St
Bethesda (CA) 9:00 PM
Fresno State
LSU 9:30 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

<
Gophers Football 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 pmX34-24
Jan 1 - vs. Missouri noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How much do you like the Gophers going to the Citrus Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close