The Gophers mens' basketball recruiting class became significantly more well-rounded Tuesday when DeLaSalle's sharp-shooting guard Gabe Kalscheur announced his committment to Minnesota in front of friends, family, teammates and media members in the school's gymnasium.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino had targeted the 6-4½ Kalscheur because of his long-range shooting capabilities and his commitment to playing dogged defense, a must under former Islanders coach Dave Thorson. He averaged 18.1 points per game for DeLaSalle last year and shot better than 36 percent on three-pointers.
Kalscheur, who had offers from Pitt, North Dakota, Drake, Northern Iowa and Bowling Green before deciding on Minnesota, cited the Gophers' coaching staff as the biggest reason for his decision. The still-under-construction Athletes Village complex didn't hurt, either.
"I chose Minnesota because of the relationship with the coaching staff there," he said. "And the new facility, that's going to be great. Minnesota, here I come."
He said that his ability to shoot from outside was what drew Pitino's interest.
"He liked that fact that I'm a shooter," Kalscheur said. "And I can play pretty good defense. I think I'm going to be a big asset on the court."
Kalscheur becomes the third local player from the class of 2018 to verbally commit to Minnesota. Pitino had already addressed the team's interior needs when he landed commitments from Cretin-Derham Hall's Daniel Oturu, a 6-10 center/forward who is a relentless rebounding machine, and Orono's Jarvis Thomas, an explosive 6-8 power forward.
Kalscheur, Oturu and Thomas were teammates this spring and summer on the Howard Pulley AAU basketball team that played in the nationwide Nike EYBL Summer League. Kalschuer was second on that team in scoring (17.7 points per game), behind Apple Valley guard Tre Jones, and shot 43.8 percent from three-point range.
Thomas and Oturu were among those in attendance at the announcement. Despite the fact that all three still have one more year of high school basketball ahead of them, Thomas admitted that he's excited to get started on his college career.
"We got in his ear about going to Minnesota," he said. "I can't wait for college."
Jim Paulsen • 612-673-7737