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Four-star recruit Jackson switches commitment from Gophers to Mizzou

Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) four-star 2019 forward Tray Jackson switched his commitment from the Gophers to Missouri on Friday night, he announced on Twitter. 

The consensus top-100 senior committed to Minnesota on Sept. 10 following his official visit to the U’s campus. In a matter of two hours and 15 minutes Friday, he went from saying he and his family decided to decommit to saying he was excited to be part of the family at Mizzou. 

 

Minnesota's coaching staff couldn't change Jackson's mind to stick with them after visiting Sunrise Christian again and talking with him this week. Jackson sent a text to Gophers coach Richard Pitino about his decision, but he said it wasn't a knock on their program.

The news was first reported by PrepHoops.com's Ryan James saying that Missouri never stopped recruiting Jackson after he made his college choice this fall.

An explosive athlete with the toughness and versatility to play both forward spots at the next level, Jackson was expected to compete for immediate playing time in the front court after the Gophers lose star Jordan Murphy to graduation next season.

Now Pitino has four scholarships remaining again and zero commitments in the 2019 recruiting class. So what happens now?

The No. 1 target is five-star Rochester John Marshall forward Matthew Hurt, who has yet to schedule official visits or narrow his list of schools. Hurt said recently that he wanted to make his visits once the season starts in November to watch teams play.

Last weekend, Lee high school (Ala.) forward Kobe Brown and Massanutten Military Academy (Va.) guard Dereon Seabron took their official visits with the Gophers. Pitino and his staff appear to be in good with Brown, who tweeted a video recently of his trip to Minnesota.

Breck power forward David Roddy, who visited the Gophers in September, has one more trip planned soon to Wyoming. Roddy is also considering Northwestern and Colorado State.

Eric Curry could return for Gophers in Saturday's scrimmage at Creighton

The Gophers men’s basketball team is a few weeks away from the start of the regular season, but the first true game test will come Saturday in a secret scrimmage at Creighton.

Aside from being a chance for Minnesota to compete against an opponent other than teammates in practice, it is expected to be the first game action for big man Eric Curry in more than a year.

The 6-foot-9, 240-pound redshirt sophomore could be fully cleared to play in the scrimmage, sources told the Star Tribune. Last August, Curry tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in a pickup game before the fall semester forcing him to miss the 2017-18 season.

Curry made a full recovery and was ready to be cleared this fall, but a calf strain caused him to be sidelined for the start of practice this season. With the departure of centers Reggie Lynch, Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou, the Gophers will likely look to Curry to start in the middle alongside All-Big Ten senior forward Jordan Murphy.

Murphy and Curry played together in the frontcourt two seasons ago when Curry was a freshman on the NCAA tournament team in 2017. The Memphis native averaged 5.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and shot 70 percent from the foul line in 20 minutes per game.

“For him, it’s mental,” Pitino said last week about Curry. “Whenever you’re wearing a knee brace you’re going to think about it a little bit. So I think the more game reps he gets, the more comfortable he’ll feel. The calf strain set him back two weeks, but he’s starting to look really good. If we can get him by (the Nov. 6 season opener against Nebraska Omaha) mentally feeling great, the physical will take care of itself.”

On Saturday, freshmen Daniel Oturu, Gabe Kalscheur, Jarvis Omersa and transfer Brock Stull could make their Gophers debut.

Many Division I basketball programs play one exhibition against a lower division opponent at home and also schedule what’s known as a secret scrimmage vs. an opponent from their level. Box scores and recaps can now be released after the game, but the teams can’t announce the scrimmage or open it for fans and media to attend.

Big Ten secret scrimmages for 2018-19 (per WatchStadium.com's Jeff Goodman):

Illinois – 10/27 vs. Vanderbilt

Indiana – 10/28 vs. Loyola Chicago at Bankers Life in Indianapolis

Iowa – 10/28 vs. Missouri at Quincy University (Illinois)

Maryland – 10/20 at George Mason

Michigan – 10/27 at Toledo

Michigan State – 10/27 vs Gonzaga in Minneapolis

Minnesota – 10/20 at Creighton

Nebraska – 10/21 at Iowa State

Northwestern – 10/28 vs. Marquette

Ohio State – 10/27 vs. Xavier

Penn State – 10/27 vs. Temple in Harrisburg; 11/3 at West Virginia (Charity game)

Purdue – 10/27 vs. West Virginia in Columbus, Ohio

Rutgers – 10/20 at Towson; 10/27 vs. Yale

Wisconsin – 10/28 vs. Iowa State in Platteville