To our readers: Thank you for taking part in our Mailbag Monday this week. Star Tribune beat writers received many questions about the teams and leagues we cover, and each writer selected at least two questions to answer on his or her blog.
Q: Any updates on Utah transfer Both Gach’s recruiting status? – Dan Chang
A: I’ve been hearing the former Austin High standout is still unsure where he wants to go but could announce his decision as early as next week. Gach’s top five schools in no order are Minnesota, Maryland, Creighton, Iowa State and Auburn. The 6-foot-7 guard was testing the waters for the NBA Draft, but he could boost his stock for next year's draft if he returns to school. Playing immediately is his goal for college. If he transfers close to home, the chances of the NCAA granting him a waiver to be eligible in 2020-21 are heavily in his favor. The Gophers make sense in that regard. It also makes sense that Richard Pitino badly wants Gach to stay old in the backcourt. Gach has two years of experience playing in the Pac-12. He averaged 10 points for the Utes last season, which included a 19-point performance in a win vs. the Gophers. Gach’s versatility, length and athleticism would allow him to play all three perimeter spots and defend them as well. Seems like the perfect fit.
Q: Any new info on Marcus Carr returning to the Gophers? – Gopher Crew (@GopherCrew)
A: The NCAA’s deadline for removing your name as an early entry NBA Draft candidate was originally last Wednesday. That date changed with COVID-19 delaying the actual draft until the fall. Without a set date for the draft, college players who declared such as Carr and Gach have until Aug. 3 or 10 days after the draft combine (whichever comes first) to pull their names out. Richard Pitino doesn’t know for certain if Carr is returning to school but remains in constant contact with his All-Big Ten point guard. There really is no new info. He’s still in Toronto with his family and training. He’s hoping to get feedback from NBA teams on his chances to play at the next level. Carr, who turned 21 last week, is excited about the Gophers’ potential next season. But he also dreams of playing in the NBA. He’ll eventually decide on what’s best for him and his family.
Q: Without Gach and Drake transfer Liam Robbins eligible, where realistically will this team finish in the Big Ten? – Mark Jenson (@mjenson)
A: It’s hard for me to talk about Gach’s eligibility since he still hasn’t made a college decision. But the Gophers have filed the waiver for Robbins. The timetable on that is uncertain. I believe the U has done its part in the process. So, it might be up to Drake now to see it through. Pitino told me recently that the Gophers are extremely optimistic about Robbins being able to play next season. If Carr returns and Robbins is eligible that would be a sleeper team to compete in the top 7 of the Big Ten. Gach joining that team would raise those projections.
Q: What is the feeling on Chet Holmgren in 2021 recruiting? – Fred Mansfield (@tinheadfred)
A: Landing Holmgren got even tougher when the highly-skilled 7-footer from Minnehaha Academy took over the No. 1 ranking nationally this week. The Gophers are the hometown school and his father’s alma mater. Gonzaga established a strong relationship when signing his buddy and former high school teammate Jalen Suggs. But Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio State, and other programs are continuing to make Holmgren their top priority as well. You also can bet more blue bloods will come calling with offers this summer.
Q: Which players are back [in Minnesota]? Curious if Isaiah Ihnen went back to Germany or stayed here? – GopherFan (@BringBackClem)
A: The Gophers are pretty scattered across the country this summer right now. They are living in six different states and two countries outside of the U.S. (Carr in Canada and David Mutaf in Turkey). Ihnen didn’t go back to Germany because of traveling difficulties when the pandemic first started shutting everything down in March. He’s been living in Minnesota. Obviously, Gabe Kalscheur and Jarvis Omersa are from the area and remained here. The Gophers are expecting to have players back on campus starting June 21, but there is no telling if they all will return at that date.