When Richard Pitino arrived at Minnesota, he told the media he thought Charles Buggs — then a redshirt freshman — had the most potential of any player on the roster.

Buggs' minutes have gone up from last year, when he played 6.7 a game, to 13.4 through 29 games so far this year, and his scoring average has increased correspondingly, from 1.7 points a game to 3.8. Meanwhile, his defense and general court awareness have improved. He still has a long ways to go before he's considered the favorite to start next year, but Pitino sees progress.

Now the coach wants to see a summer of dedication, and maybe a little more interest in watching other games as the NCAA tournament wages on.

"He's gotten way better from where he was," he said. "I mean, he has really, really improved.

"Now it's going to come down to he's had a decent year — not a bad year, not a good year — now does he want to make that jump and have a great year next year? And that means living here. Living in the gym, living in the weight room and being serious about the game."

Gold in the Barn: startribune.com/gophers