Staff Directory 6370596

Marcus Fuller

Reporter | Gophers basketball

Marcus Fuller covers Gophers men's basketball and college basketball for the Star Tribune. He has 13 years of experience covering Twin Cities college and professional sports. 


Fuller joined the Star Tribune in 2016 after 11 years covering Gophers sports – and just about every other team and league in town -- for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Before making the Twin Cities his home, he spent two years in The Kansas City Star sports department. Fuller grew up in Hawaii and is a 2002 graduate of San Jose State.
Recent content from Marcus Fuller
Jalen Suggs, the former Minnehaha Academy star, now at Gonzaga (left) and Iowa’s Luka Garza, Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu and Baylor’s Jared Butler.

Player of the year award isn't one-man race with Suggs, others in mix

Iowa center Luka Garza, Illinois guard Ayo Dosunmu and at least two more are making a strong case for top honors in college basketball.
Gophers freshman Jamal Mashburn Jr. (4) has put up point totals of 14, 19 and 16 over the past three games.

Younger Mashburn learning lessons during difficult Gophers season

Under less than ideal circumstances, freshman guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. has built on his family's bond with Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino.
Gophers center Liam Robbins (0) grabbed his lower left leg after a hard fall in the second half against Purdue earlier this month.

With Robbins hobbled, frontcourt depth again becomes issue for U

7-foot Liam Robbins was the center transfer that Minnesota needed, but the team has struggled with him injured or in foul trouble.
Illinois’ Trent Frazier (1) celebrated with Andre Curbelo after making a half court shot he took in the final seconds in the first half.

Barnyard mess: No. 5 Illinois runs away from Gophers in 94-63 blowout

On Saturday vs. the Illini, the Gophers were as overmatched as they've been all season. They gave up 48 points in the paint, 31 fast-break points and committed a season-high 18 turnovers.
Jamal Mashburn Sr. watched his son, Gophers freshman guard Jamal Mashburn Jr., during his 16-point performance.

Jamal Mashburn Jr.'s promise shows again, in front of his NBA dad

With his father in attendance Saturday, the freshman scored 16 points to lead the Gophers offense again.
U defense will be put to the test today against Illinois stars

U defense will be put to the test today against Illinois stars

Injuries will make it tough for the Gophers to defend Illinois' inside-outside tandem of Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn on Saturday.
Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino has not watched one road victory this season.

Who's counting? Gophers' winless road record not seen as tourney deal-breaker

In a season of anomalies, ESPN's Joe Lunardi has the Gophers in next month's NCAA men's basketball tournament field despite a big blemish.
 Gabe Kalscheur (22) and center Liam Robbins (0) battled for a rebound against Purdue.

Pitino: Kalscheur needs surgery on finger, Robbins has severely sprained ankle

Gabe Kalscheur, who started all 88 games of his career until this week, suffered the hand injury in practice a day before Wednesday's 82-72 loss at Indiana.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, the former Minnehaha Academy star, keeps the ball from going out of bounds during the second half of a game against Pepperd

For prep basketball stars, G League enticing but college game holds thrills

Former five-star prep prospects Jalen Suggs and Jalen Green are candidates to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. They have taken very different routes to that status.
Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis dunks during the first half Wednesday vs. the Gophers

Another injury setback for Gophers clouds 82-72 loss at Indiana

With Gabe Kalscheur out of the lineup because of a broken finger and Liam Robbins struggling on a sprained ankle, the Gophers faded in the second half.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur

Gophers' guard Kalscheur out 'a while' with broken finger on shooting hand

Gabe Kalscheur, a junior guard, had played every game of his college career - 88 in a row - before Wednesday.
Minnesota Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur, center Liam Robbins and forward Brandon Johnson looked to get a rebound against Purdue.

Injury issues plague Gophers basketball, going for first road win tonight

The Gophers men's basketball team is dealing with several injuries going for its first road victory Wednesday at Indiana.
Gophers center Liam Robbins dunked against Purdue on Feb. 11.

Injured ankle could keep Robbins out of Wednesday's game at Indiana

Backup center Eric Curry, and forwards Brandon Johnson and Isaiah Ihnen will be relied upon more if Liam Robbins is on the bench for the Gophers.
Paige Buckers of Hopkins and Jalen Suggs of Minnehaha Academy are the freshman point guards for the No., 1 women’s and men’s basketball teams in t

More excellence: Suggs, Bueckers lead teams to No. 1 in latest polls

No. 1 + No. 1 equals a big deal for two former Minnesota prep basketball superstars. An updated look at the play of UConn's Paige Bueckers and Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs.
Gophers guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. had his shot rejected by Maryland forward Galin Smith during the first half Sunday.

Slow start, poor shooting dooms Gophers in another loss to Maryland

Coming off back-to-back victories, the Gophers resembled the same team that made scoring seem like a painful process earlier this season in a home loss to the Terrapins.
Frontcourt foul trouble could be a factor for Gophers vs. Maryland

Frontcourt foul trouble could be a factor for Gophers vs. Maryland

The Gophers men's basketball team likely needs 7-footer Liam Robbins to stay in the game to have a chance at a first road victory Sunday against the Terrapins.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur

Gophers basketball season tests Kalscheur's mettle

Gabe Kalscheur's importance to the Gophers lineup isn't questioned despite a prolonged shooting slump. Long-range shots might not be falling but he's added to other parts of his game.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr hit a 3-pointer to give the Gophers a one-point lead with 11.2 seconds left vs. Purdue

Shot in the arm: Carr's clutch shooting sends Gophers over Purdue

Marcus Carr scored eight of his 18 points in the final minute, including two three-pointers that lifted the Gophers to a big win over the No. 25 Boilermakers.
What if Minnehaha Academy graduate Jalen Suggs stayed in Minnesota and was teamed in the Gophers backcourt with Marcus Carr?

What if all Big Ten teams kept their best players at home?

Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs in maroon-and gold? Purdue's Trevion Williams in Michigan's maize and blue? Top prep players hitting the road is more than a Minnesota thing.
Purdue forward Trevion Williams leapt for an inbound pass with Brandon Johnson of the Gophers.

Gophers got critical defensive help on Purdue big man Williams

Brandon Johnson helped Liam Robbins with a double team that forced a late miss.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr on rematch vs. Purdue: "We definitely have some unfinished business."

Gophers guard Marcus Carr on rematch vs. Purdue: "We definitely have some unfinished business."

Gophers standout guard Marcus Carr enters Thursday's game vs. Purdue on a mission recently to make up for some struggles he had during a losing streak.
Marcus Carr and Liam Robbins have been carrying the Gophers. Who else will step up as a third threat?

Gophers need to find third option to go with Carr and Robbins

Having a formidable 1-2 punch like Marcus Carr and Liam Robbins will only get the Gophers so far during the rest of the Big Ten basketball season.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr passed the ball during the first half of Monday night’s game against Nebraska.

Gophers break out of slump, thump Nebraska to end three-game losing streak

The Gophers got contributions from up and down their roster with two of their standouts in foul trouble.
Transfers rule when U basketball team plays host to Nebraska

Transfers rule when U basketball team plays host to Nebraska

Two Big Ten men's basketball teams that rely the most on transfers meet Monday night when the Gophers and Nebraska face off at Williams Arena
Richard Pitino is trying to get his team out of its doldrums.

Licking their wounds, Gophers will try to get going once again

The term "must-win" isn't in Richard Pitino's vocabulary. Still, there's a lot at stake if his Gophers men's basketball team can't break out of its slump against Nebraska.
Rutgers center Myles Johnson shoots over the Gophers’ Brandon Johnson and Liam Robbins Thursday night in New Jersey.

Final play goes awry, Gophers remain winless on road with loss to Rutgers

In a game with 22 lead changes, the Gophers went ahead five times in the last four minutes. But they couldn't get a big basket when it was needed at the end.
The recent deaths of iconic Black coaches John Chaney and John Thompson Jr. creates a gaping hole in the game.

The college basketball world misses John Chaney and John Thompson Jr.

Those two icons remind us of a time when Black college basketball coaches were flourishing.
Gophers' backcourt needs a boost Thursday at Rutgers

Gophers' backcourt needs a boost Thursday at Rutgers

Gophers coach Richard Pitino is hoping his new backcourt rotation can help lead the team to its first road victory this season Thursday at Rutgers.
Liam Robbins celebrates a three-point shot during a win against Michigan on Jan. 16. The Gophers had their next game postponed, derailing momentum.

Gophers not alone in having forced schedule breaks crush momentum

Entering Thursday's game at Rutgers, the Gophers are still trying to regain the winning form that vanished following an unscheduled interruption in their schedule.
Four things Pitino's Gophers must address during second half of Big Ten season

Four things Pitino's Gophers must address during second half of Big Ten season

Quality wins at home and winless away from Williams Arena. Here are issues that need addressing for Minnesota to finish the men's basketball season successfully.
Minnesota center Liam Robbins is trapped between Purdue forward Trevion Williams and forward Mason Gillis on Saturday.

Loss to Purdue knocks Gophers out of Top 25 men's basketball poll

A second straight loss by double-digits moved Minnesota out of the Associated Press poll after five straight weeks of being ranked.
Purdue guard Jaden Ivey was fouled by Gophers center Liam Robbins in the second half. After leading by five points at halftime, the Gophers lost by 19

Purdue keeps the road rough, grinds down Gophers for 19-point win

The Boilermakers rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to keep the Gophers winless away from home this season, now 0-5.
Will Pitino make changes for more offensive firepower at Purdue?

Will Pitino make changes for more offensive firepower at Purdue?

The Gophers men's basketball team struggled offensively in its last game shooting 30 percent in a 14-point loss vs. Maryland at home.
Purdue’s Brandon Newman

Gophers vs. Purdue pits Pitino's vets against Painter's fab four

Purdue has four freshmen who've been named Big Ten Players of the Week heading into Saturday's home game against Minnesota.
Corey Kispert leads Gonzaga in scoring at 20.6 points per game. Kispert is shooting 58% from the field and 49% from three-point range.

Mid-majors hold their ground in college basketball

Gonzaga is better than ever as the nation's top-ranked team.
With opponents ganging up on him to stop him from scoring, Gophers junior guard Marcus Carr must look for more ways to involve his teammates in the of

Gophers' Carr seeking balance on offense

Junior guard Marcus Carr, the Gophers' top scorer, also needs to create more opportunities for his teammates.
Minnesota guard Marcus Carr (5) reacted after the loss to Maryland at the end of the second half Saturday at Williams Arena.

Momentum dashed: No. 17 Gophers fall to Maryland at home, 63-49

The Gophers have beaten four ranked opponents at Williams Arena this season, but couldn't avoid the letdown after beating Michigan.
Michigan guard Franz Wagner drove to the basket as Minnesota guard Gabe Kalscheur defended in the second half.

Gophers look to Kalscheur to be the 'best perimeter defender in the Big Ten.'

A game against Maryland this afternoon is another test for the nation's No. 17 team.
Richard Pitino’s pleas to officials are easily heard now that Williams Arena is empty for Gophers games.

Cooking at home: Gophers lament being undefeated in empty Barn

Minnesota is among heavyweights like Gonzaga, Kansas and Iowa that have won four games vs. ranked opponents. Not having fans at the games casts a chill on the thrill.
Former Rochester John Marshall star Matthew Hurt (21) has been one of the few bright spots for an unranked Duke team.

What's wrong? Why are Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina all unranked?

The three traditional men's basketball powers have a combined .500 record this season and are all unranked at the same time for the first time in 60 years.
Daniel Oturu

Oturu watches Gophers with excitement while embracing NBA rookie's life

After becoming an All-America as a sophomore last season, the Cretin-Derham Hall product was the first Gophers player drafted into the NBA in 16 years.
Michigan guard Franz Wagner drove to the basket as Minnesota guard Gabe Kalscheur defended in the second half Saturday.

Gophers made huge strides defensively in upsetting Michigan

The improved defensive effort that Minnesota displayed against previously undefeated Michigan should be something to build on for the rest of the season.
Minnesota’s Liam Robbins (0) eyes the basket as Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson (1) defends in the second half on Saturday.

U center Robbins earns national, Big Ten honors for second time

7-foot Liam Robbins sparked Minnesota's upset against No. 7 Michigan by leading the team with 22 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg and seven players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Next Gophers game called off as Nebraska roster gets hit by virus

Coach Fred Hoiberg and seven Cornhuskers players have tested positive for COVID-19, putting the program on pause.
Gophers center Liam Robbins drove to the basket between Michigan defenders on Saturday.

Gophers' Robbins stands out while facing gantlet of Big Ten big men

The 7-footer scored 22 points and outplayed Michigan's Hunter Dickinson.
Minnesota guard Marcus Carr (5) took the ball down the court as Michigan forward Isaiah Livers (2) defended in the first half. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • a

Payback: Gophers hand No. 7 Michigan first loss in 75-57 rout

"We were embarrassed about what happened in Ann Arbor," Liam Robbins said, referring to the Gophers' 25-point loss to Michigan on Jan. 6. "We were going to make sure that didn't happen on our home court." And Saturday, it didn't.
Two of the Big Ten's top centers battle for second time as Gophers host Wolverines

Two of the Big Ten's top centers battle for second time as Gophers host Wolverines

Gophers' 7-footer Liam Robbins and Michigan's 7-1 Hunter Dickinson meet for the second time this season Saturday at the Barn. Dickinson and Robbins are two of the top centers in the Big Ten, arguably the top league in college basketball for the position.
Forward Brandon Johnson (23) helped the Gophers foil Michigan State on Dec. 28.

Gophers ending toughest-ever stretch of games with No. 7 Michigan

This will be Minnesota's eighth game in a row vs. a ranked opponents and the team will be putting its perfect home record at risk.
Gophers center Liam Robbins has been one of the most impactful transfers in college basketball this season, but he’s not alone.

Transfer market buoys Gophers, several other Top 25 squads

Michigan, Texas Tech, Louisville and Oregon are among the other teams benefiting. Good luck finding a contending team without a transfer making an impact.
Gophers men preparing for undefeated, red-hot Wolverines

Gophers men preparing for undefeated, red-hot Wolverines

Michigan has gotten even more hype since blowing out the Gophers earlier this month, some of it coming from Tuesday's lopsided win over Wisconsin.
Minnesota forward Brandon Johnson hit a three point shot over the head of Iowa guard Connor McCaffery in overtime on Dec. 25.

Are Gophers hurting themselves by shooting too many three-pointers?

The Gophers men's basketball team ranks last in the Big Ten in three-point shooting percentage, but it still attempts the fourth most in the league.
Minnesota forward Brandon Johnson, center, drives to the basket between Iowa forward Patrick McCaffery, left, and forward Jack Nunge, right, during th

U suffers another double-digit road loss after close first half in Iowa

Hustle and effort plays weren't enough when the shots didn't fall consistently enough for the Gophers to keep up with Iowa in the second half.
Iowa center Luka Garza put up a hook shot over Gopers center Liam Robbins in the second half Sunday in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes won 86-71.

Gophers, Hawkeyes players take knee before national anthem

"I told them if you want to talk about it, what I saw on that TV was absolutely disgusting, absolutely ridiculous," Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. "We have been constantly reminded since this spring that our country is far from perfect and has a long, long way to go."
Toughness factor will be key for Gophers basketball on the road Sunday at Iowa

Toughness factor will be key for Gophers basketball on the road Sunday at Iowa

The Gophers men's basketball team is winless on the road this season, but lacking toughness and struggling against physicality have been major issues. Can the Gophers play more aggressive on offense and tougher defensively Sunday in the rematch vs. Iowa?
Marcus Carr suggests lack of fans and atmosphere have made it tough to play on the road, but he said the Gophers have to adjust.

Gophers haven't looked remotely ready in Big Ten road games

The No. 16-ranked Gophers travel to play Sunday at No. 5 Iowa, still missing looking for a win on the road. They haven't yet come close.
Minnesota center Liam Robbins eyed the basket as Iowa center Luka Garza defended in the first half Dec. 25.

Gophers center Liam Robbins healthy to play Sunday in rematch against Iowa's Luka Garza

Gophers starting center Liam Robbins was limited with an injury in his last game, but he's expected to play Sunday against Iowa and All-American Luka Garza. The 7-foot Robbins leads the Big Ten in blocks this season.
Minnesotans Suggs, Garcia among 10 most impactful college basketball freshmen

Minnesotans Suggs, Garcia among 10 most impactful college basketball freshmen

The former Minnehaha Academy point guard is starring for top-ranked Gonzaga; Dawson Garcia, who played at Prior Lake, has quickly established himself at Marquette.
Gophers head coach Richard Pitino, center, sits on the bench watching game action in the second half against Michigan

Second-half meltdown by Gophers leads to blowout at Michigan

While the Gophers are on track to be an NCAA tournament team, three road losses by an average of 21 points — at Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan — have formed a disturbing trend.
Guard Marcus Carr has been the Gophers’ go-to scorer this season.

Can Carr, Gophers end their road struggles tonight at Michigan?

The Gophers men's basketball team is undefeated at home, but it suffered both losses this season on the road when star guard Marcus Carr struggled. Carr and company can end their road woes Wednesday at No. 10 Michigan, but the program hasn't won there since 2011.
Gophers transfer Liam Robbins, right, has taken his place among the Big Ten’s best big men this season. Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson, left, is anot

Gophers newcomer Robbins standing tall in Big Ten

Drake transfer Liam Robbins learned quickly in a conference stacked with standout bigs.
Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur shot over Ohio State’s defense during Sunday’s victory at Williams Arena.

Gophers climb to No. 16 in AP poll but only 43rd in NET ranking

Victories over Michigan State and Ohio State moved Minnesota up from No. 21 in last week's AP poll.
Gophers center Liam Robbins defended the rim against Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell in the second half Sunday.

Gophers' Robbins earns Big Ten basketball player of the week honors

The junior center from Davenport, Iowa, averaged 19 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in three games last week.
Gophers center Liam Robbins drove hard against the defense of Ohio State forward E.J. Liddell in the first half,

Gophers go inside for points, win big over Ohio State

The Gophers on Sunday bounced back from an ugly offensive showing in Thursday's loss at Wisconsin by going through the post vs. the Buckeyes.
Gophers head coach Richard Pitino yelled direction for his team as David Mutaf (3) drove the lane during a game last month.

David Mutaf leaves Gophers men's basketball team

The freshman guard has played little and intends to transfer.
Gophers center Liam Robbins blocked a shot in the first half of Friday night’s game against North Dakota.

Can Gophers basketball get back to a winning defense against Ohio State?

The Gophers men's basketball team held Michigan State to under 30 percent shooting in its last home game. But Wisconsin shot over 50 percent Thursday in the Gophers' loss in Madison.
Marcus Carr

Gophers hoping to lighten Carr's scoring load vs. Ohio State

The No. 21 Gophers learned the hard way in both of their losses this season that when opposing defenses slow down their best player, things can go haywire.
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Davis steals the ball from Minnesota’s Marcus Carr during the first half Thursday in Madison

Gophers basketball stopped cold in 71-59 loss at Wisconsin

Following a pair of Big Ten wins over ranked opponents, the Gophers on Thursday afternoon shot just 31.3% in Madison while the Badgers used a strong inside game to set the tone.
Minnesota guard Gabe Kalscheur

Gophers' Kalscheur starts to snap out of shooting slump

Junior guard Gabe Kalscheur was aggressive on offense and scored a team-high 15 points Thursday in Madison.
Wisconsin guard Brad Davison, right, and forward Nate Reuvers are key for the Badgers.

Gophers vs. Badgers basketball border battle has strong Minnesota flavor

When the No. 21-ranked Gophers men's basketball team plays Thursday at No. 6 Wisconsin, there will be more Minnesotans than players from Wisconsin on both rosters with nine combined.
Beyond relying on Marcus Carr, the Gophers play fast, get to the foul line and play tougher defense

Gophers basketball has established a solid identity during recent rise

Scoring in transition matters to Minnesota's offense, which averaged 16 fast-break points the past three games - all wins. But Wisconsin will try to slow things down.
Marcus Carr (5) celebrated with Brandon Johnson (23) and Liam Robbins (0) during Monday’s victory against Michigan State.

Four things that changed for Gophers hoops after Illinois blowout

The 27-point loss to Illinois on Dec. 15 stung, but the Gophers have only improved since.
Above, Marcus Carr (5) of Minnesota attempted a shot while defended by Julius Marble II (34) of Michigan State in the first half. Top, Liam Robbins (0

No. 21 Gophers blow out No. 17 Michigan State for second consecutive Big Ten victory

The Gophers matched their biggest victory ever against the floundering Spartans.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr was named Big Ten player of the week.

Gophers' Carr earns Big Ten player of the week honors

The junior guard became the first Gophers player since Amir Coffey in 2018-19 to post back-to-back 30-point games.
Can the Gophers keep up their hot shooting from three-point range?

Can the Gophers keep up their hot shooting from three-point range?

The Gophers men's basketball team hit 27 three-pointers in the last two games, but can it keep that hot shooting up Monday night against Michigan State?
Forward Brandon Johnson appeared to turn a big corner Friday with eight three-pointers for the Gophers against No. 4 Iowa.

Gophers' Johnson recovering well, and his shooting shows it

Brandon Johnson's three-point stroke was clicking against No. 4 Iowa as the senior forward distances himself from injuries.