A few notes as we anticipate the start of basketball season – team practice officially starts in mid-October, sooner than you think:
- First off, the Gophers start campus visits rounds this week with three Class of 2013 recruits coming on Friday:
Cedric Hankerson: a 6-4, 195-pound guard from Miami, Florida, who has the ability to take over games offensively and harass defensively. Brother is Charles Hankerson, who plays at Wyoming. Averaged 22.9 points and 11.4 rebounds a game as a junior. Hankerson is an academically bright individual who has said he’s narrowed down the cache of offers to Boston University, Penn, Virginia Tech and Minnesota.
Nigel Hayes: a 6-7, 215-pound power forward from Toledo, Ohio, with good range and the ability to score on his own in the post. Besides Minnesota, Hayes has offers from Stanford, Wisconsin and Ohio State that he’s seriously considering. Right now, it seems like Minnesota might be the school he’s edging out.
Gavin Schilling: a 6-9, 205 forward from Chicago will have gone to four high schools in four years. The big man – who runs the floor well for his size – was born in Germany and spent a year at an elite academy there after his freshman year at Loyola. Last year he was at De La Salle, but is transferring to powerhouse Findlay Prep for his senior season.
- On a separate note, coach Tubby Smith gave an injury update Wednesday; video below:
Clearly, Trevor Mbakwe for one, is ready to get back on the court. He tweeted this Tuesday:
“First individual practice with the team tomorrow. I might not sleep tonight lol
- The Gophers have been getting some pre-season love nationally, and did again Tuesday, when Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn pointed to Andre Hollins as one of six players he sees breaking out in 2013-14.
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From the Gophers’ perspective, any game they can gut out or steal is a big victory.
Through five games, Nebraska Omaha is playing at the third fastest pace in Division I college basketball. (And one of the Mavericks top players is a former Chaska star.)
The Gophers have collected 48 fouls in the last two games, and foul trouble contributed to Minnesota’s 81-68 loss to Texas Tech on Sunday.
The question now is whether Minnesota can move past a bad long weekend and pick up some steam through the rest of this month and next – or whether a not-so-easy slate between now and New Year's will put the Gophers on the path toward the basement.
The Gophers are young and inexperienced and while the future may be bright, the present is tenuous, at best.