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Pitino still seeks guard; U hosts player who decommitted from Nebraska

The late signing period ended earlier this week, but the Gophers are still looking to put the finishing touches on their 2019 recruiting class.

Highest on the priority list for Richard Pitino is to add another guard who could help the Gophers run their offense in the 2019-20 season. 

Three-star New Hampton School (N.H.) guard Mika Adams-Woods made his official visit to Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday, but there’s no word yet on an announcement date from him.

Adams-Woods thanked the Gophers for having him on an official visit after it ended. He posted pics wearing a Minnesota uniform an his Instagram account, but wrote that he was not committed.

Minnesota jumped on his recruitment this month. Other schools are showing more interest as well, including Cincinnati recently.The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior from New York was a former Nebraska recruit who asked to be released from his signed letter of intent last month when Tim Miles was replaced by Fred Hoiberg as Cornhuskers coach.

“I think people if they see Mika they’ll be pleasantly surprised,” his former high school coach Gallagher Driscoll said this week. “His biggest thing is he makes everybody around him better. He’s left-handed. Everybody likes playing with Mika. I think he’s a great listener and is very, very coachable. He’s not one of those guys who they will take him just to fill a spot. I think he’s competitive enough to put himself in a situation to be playing some (major) minutes. I just think he’s really good. You need somebody to get the ball from Point A to Point B.”

Adams-Woods was considering Massachusetts, Florida International and St. Joseph’s after reopening his recruitment earlier this spring. The Gophers have been searching for another ballhandler and facilitator to add to their 2019 class, which includes guard Tre’ Williams, forward Isaiah Ihnen and center Sam Freeman.

In his second season at New Hampton this year, Adams-Woods averaged 19 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals. He also shot 56.8 percent from the field and 42.5 percent from three-point range.

“I think he was under recruited,” said Driscoll, who coached Adams-Woods at Bishop Ludden. “He’s a true point guard who had an unbelievable year this year at New Hampton. There was a period when he was scoring 25 point per game and shooting close to 50 percent from the three-point line.”

Before transferring to prep school in 2017, he spent his first three years as the starting point guard for Bishop Ludden High School in his hometown of Syracuse, N.Y. Adams-Woods flew under the radar despite playing for the Nike EYBL Albany Rocks AAU team, which featured McDonald’s All-American Isaiah Stewart.

The question is will the Gophers hold off other suitors for Adams-Woods to finish their 2019 class?

There doesn’t appear to be a timetable for his decision, but Pitino likely can’t wait too long if he wants to find another ball handler for next season.

“The style of play at Minnesota is conducive to what Mika can do,” Driscoll said. “I’ve seen Minnesota play 100 times. I think it would be a good situation.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@gophermbb thank you for having me for the official visit!!! #gopher 〽️ #notcommitted

A post shared by Mika Adams-Woods (@_shoeyy23) on

'Jelly home.' Ex-Gophers point guard Washington transfers to Iona

Former Gophers point guard Isaiah Washington will transfer to Iona College for next season, the Star Tribune confirmed Wednesday night.

Washington, a former four-star recruit, announced he was leaving Minnesota’s program last month after he struggled to find playing time during his sophomore season.

His scoring dropped from 8.7 points as a freshman to 4.3 this year, but he also averaged career-best 2.8 assists in 16.1 minutes per game.

The former New York prep player of the year and co-founder of the “Jelly Fam” brand arrived in Minnesota from St. Raymond’s High School in the Bronx with high expectations in 2017. After having a tough time in the Big Ten living up his social media stardom and hype, he’ll be playing closer to home in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein first reported Washington’s transfer Wednesday night to play for the Iona Gaels. Washington later followed with a tweet: “Go gaels…jelly home.”

In early April, Washington thanked the University of Minnesota for its support in a statement on Twitter that also mentioned why he was transferring:

“You guys were tremendous on and off the court and made me a better man each day,” he tweeted. “However, this season took a toll on me mentally. I started to lose the love of basketball and my grandparents health issues added more to it. I’ve took the time to sit with a therapist to help me out. After talks with family, it’s best that I find a new home. With that being said, I will not be returning to the University of Minnesota next season. I love you all, you will always have a place in my heart.”

In his last game with the Gophers, Washington scored nine points in 24 minutes in the NCAA tournament second-round loss to Michigan State. He saw the court for the first time in five games when he came off the bench in the Big Ten tournament semifinal loss vs. Michigan.

Gophers coach Richard Pitino decided to use 6-foot-8 Amir Coffey as his starting point guard last season. The emergence of guard Gabe Kalscheur’s also kept Washington from seeing the court.

“In today’s landscape of basketball, I want to say over 500 people are transferring,” Pitino told the Star Tribune last month. “Certainly, when a kid transfers as a basketball coach you feel like there’s a little bit of disappointment all around that we couldn’t make this work. There are so many variables that go into it. The most important thing for Isaiah is he finds the right spot. He’s got two more years of eligibility. He has to pick the right situation for him.”

Pitino will likely have Pittsburgh transfer Marcus Carr start at point guard next season after he sat out 2018-19. Washington’s departure also gives the Gophers a fourth scholarship, which they could use on three-star New Hampton School (N.H.) point guard Mika Adams-Woods, who made an official visit to Minnesota this week.