What did Saunders see as positive areas this season?
“We’ve had some improvement, when you look at our two rookies in Dieng and Shabazz, they proved they can be rotation-type players,” Saunders said. “Kevin Love has had a phenomenal year this year. I love the way Rubio has played this last three weeks or four weeks. … We have to keep on working and find a way to keep Pekovic on the floor and cut down on some of the minor injuries we’ve had. Like I said, we’ve had some improvement, but there is also some disappointment.”
• If Tennessee does offer Gophers men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino a job, it would be hard for him to turn it down because it’s one of the best jobs in the country. While at Texas Tech, Bob Knight had a chance to get the Tennessee job and he later talked about what a big mistake he made by not taking it.
• Mortenson Construction Company will have the new Mayo Clinic Square in Block E ready for the 2014-15 season. Progress is also being made on the plan to remodel Target Center, with a list of nine architects who applied for the job narrowed down to two finalists.
• Last week was a big one for former Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy, now with Baltimore, and Carlos Gomez, who the Twins traded to Milwaukee for Hardy, with both players receiving their Gold Glove awards for last season.
• Tom Serratore, the Gophers hockey player who signed a tryout contract with the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL following the Frozen Four, had one goal after two games. Former Gophers defenseman Mark Alt assisted on the goal.
• Three former Wolves coaches will have teams in the NBA playoffs: Toronto’s Dwane Casey, Washington’s Randy Wittman and Houston’s Kevin McHale.
• Cole Aldrich, the former Bloomington Jefferson and Kansas basketball star who previously has played with Oklahoma City, Houston and Sacramento, has finally gotten a chance to play with the New York Knicks. Aldrich, who was averaging 1.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game, had 13 points and 13 rebounds Tuesday to lead the Knicks over Brooklyn 109-98 and 13 points and 16 rebounds in 40 minutes as the Knicks beat Toronto 95-92 on Wednesday.
• Apple Valley point guard Tyus Jones recently played with the USA team at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, Ore., and he scored 13 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and dished out a team-high six assists in an 84-73 victory over a team composed of international recruits.
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