In today's Star Tribune, the Gophers will play tourists, and some basketball in Spain.
When November rolls around, there will be plenty to discover about this University of Minnesota men’s basketball team.
Who will be the leaders? Will the Gophers play to their size or their quickness? Can the frontcourt survive in the Big Ten? What will the lineup and rotation look like?
All of these are questions that can’t be answered yet. One season after we watched and listened as notable seniors Andre Hollins, DeAndre Mathieu, Mo Walker and Elliott Eliason anchored the media guide and the conversations on national broadcasts, we’ll observe a genuine wildcard team. The expectant leaders are gone and in their place is one talented sophomore guard (Nate Mason – the only real known factor) and a slew of promising but raw newcomers, little-used returners and somewhat erratic contributors.
But let’s focus, for now, on the raw newcomers bit. Given the construction of the team, they’ll likely be expected to play notable roles almost immediately – Pitino said on Tuesday that he won’t discuss redshirts until the “last minute possible” – and freshmen Kevin Dorsey and Jordan Murphy, in particular, are probably serious candidates to start.
“I think we have a bit of a gauge on what they can give us right away,” Pitino said of all the newcomers. “It all changes when the season starts, that’s just reality. When minutes are distributed, guys act differently. So I think a lot of that is speculation now, but I think they can all give us different things.”
Pitino went through each player briefly while addressing the media on Tuesday. His comments:
Kevin Dorsey, 6-0, 175-pound guard from Maryland
A lightning quick point guard who has the type of speed that DeAndre Mathieu has, can go by anybody. Very good passer, needs to improve his shooting. A great defender but takes a couple too many risks, he probably got away with that at a younger age, but a fun, fun player to watch. The main thing he needs to work on is his shooting.
Dupree McBrayer, 6-4, 175-pound guard from New York
He’s a guy that can play multiple positions… He’s put on about 10 pounds. I really like his game a lot, he’s multidimensional, he can do a little bit of everything and scores the basketball similar to Carlos Morris. He doesn’t take as many bad shots as Carlos Morris does.
Ahmad Gilbert – who apparently goes by “JR” –6-6, 210-pound wing from Pennsylvania
He is a shooter. He came in in not great shape and has gotten in better shape and he’s been playing better since he’s gotten in good shape. We’re excited about the length that he brings.
Jordan Murphy, 6-6, 230-pound forward from Texas
We’re very excited about him. He’s been playing mostly the power forward spot for us. He’s got that undersized 3-4 type of body, but he can guard multiple positions. We’re extremely excited about him, he’s got great leadership qualities, he’s making Joey better and Joey is making him better, so that’s important.
Reggie Lynch, 6-9, 260-pound junior center from Edina, and Davonte Fitzgerald, 6-8, 205-pound junior from Georgia
I think they’ll make an immediate impact next year. They’re two of the better players on the team this year, unfortunately they can’t play this year. But I do think that those two guys will help a lot next year.