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
Camden Heide of Wayzata will attend Purdue.

Four-star Wayzata guard Camden Heide says he'll attend Purdue

One of the top boys' basketball players in Minnesota's 2022 class announced his decision Tuesday. He had made an unofficial visit to the U.
The first team meeting and summer workout were important to news Gophers basketball coach Ben Johnson.

Thin roster marks first summer workout for U men's basketball

The Gophers have only nine scholarship players on campus right now for summer school, including two transfers recovering from injuries.
Junior forward Isaiah Ihnen is the Gophers’ lone returning player. Summer camp will begin the search for a new starting five.

Gophers men's basketball: 5 things to watch as summer practice starts

The new-look Gophers and their new coaches have eight weeks to build chemistry and figure out how to make so many new pieces fit together.
The Gophers began last season with a tipoff against Wisconsin Green Bay on Nov. 25, 2020.

Gophers men's basketball nonconference schedule nearly finished

The 2021-22 nonconference slate for new Gophers coach Ben Johnson has 11 of 12 games set
Chet Holmgren

A final assist: Suggs presents Holmgren with national player of year award

Minnehaha Academy teammates Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren packed gyms and made videos go viral. Now, Holmgren is replacing Suggs as the incoming college freshman everyone is talking about.
North Carolina’s Sterling Manley reacts following his basket and a foul against North Carolina State

Ex-North Carolina 7-footer Manley considering U or pro hoops next season

Sterling Manley, limited at North Carolina by a knee injury, shined at a pre-draft combine recently. But he still could play another college season and is considering the Gophers.
The U’s Kostas Zaltos won the Big Ten hammer throw in May.

Gophers track and field athletes throw weight around during pandemic

Six U throwers qualified for the NCAAs, overcoming COVID concerns and the impending elimination of indoor track.
Gopher recruit Treyton Thompson during a D1 Minnesota AAU practice last summer.

'Can't wait to get started.' Alexandria's Thompson, other U hoops newcomers arriving

Treyton Thompson, the Gophers' top incoming recruit, and several transfers are coming to campus early in preparation for summer practice
Cretin-Derham Hall’s Tre Holloman played for Howard Pulley during the Minnesota Showcase tournament in Bloomington

Top state basketball talent Holloman visiting Gophers, Spartans this week

One of the most sought after point guards in the country, Tre Holloman of Cretin-Derham Hall said he'll also be visiting Marquette at the end of the month.
Spectators lined the court at Bloomington Jefferson during the Minnesota Showcase basketball tournament last weekend. Soon, NCAA coaches will be among

With NCAA recruiting restrictions lifting, summer hoops scene about to bloom

Gophers coaches Ben Johnson and Lindsay Whalen are eager to return to in-person recruiting, and so are the state's top recruits.
Jackson Purcell (11)

Eastview guard among two walk-ons added to Gophers men's basketball

Jackson Purcell and Joey Kern, a transfer from Division III Johns Hopkins, are the latest additions to the revamped roster.
Ole Miss 6-11 transfer has U among finalists, decision coming Wednesday

Ole Miss 6-11 transfer has U among finalists, decision coming Wednesday

The Gophers have a chance to possibly get their center for next season when Ole Miss senior Khadim Sy announces his decision. Minnesota is among four finalists.
Totino-Grace forward Demarion Watson-Saulsberry is starting to realize how good he can be, after coming off the bench at Minnehaha Academy his sophomo

Even without big names, Gophers basketball looks to Sizzle for talent

Two standouts the Gophers are recruiting the hardest are leading the Grassroots Sizzle AAU team that's trying to maintain a legacy enhanced by Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren.
Ben Johnson (left) and Marcus Jenkins

U's Johnson on losing 10 players: 'I don't take any of this stuff personal'

Head coach Ben Johnson and newly hired assistant Marcus Jenkins answered questions about the team and themselves. Here are five highlights from that session.
Gophers coach Johnson lands Florida junior college shooter Thiam

Gophers coach Johnson lands Florida junior college shooter Thiam

Indian River State College freshman guard Abdoulaye Thiam gives the Gophers their second recruit in 24 hours.
The new Gopher men’s basketball coach was introduced to the media on March 23

Seeking depth, Gophers get big-man transfer Daniels from Stephen F. Austin

The Gophers are hoping 6-foot-9 graduate transfer Charlie Daniels can provide some needed frontcourt depth.
Gopher pitcher Amber Fiser left, Carlie Brandt and Makenna Partain

Four 'super seniors' kept U softball strong through coaching changes

With Amber Fiser in the circle for a fifth season and three classmates behind her in the infield, Minnesota is where it wants to be: the NCAA tournament.
Demarion Watson-Saulsberry played for the Grassroots Sizzle during the Minnesota Showcase tournament in Bloomington.

Totino-Grace's Watson-Saulsberry gets U's attention with his potential

Demarion Watson-Saulsberry wasn't a starter as a high school sophomore, but he was on a loaded Minnehaha Academy team that featured Jalen Suggs and Chet Holmgren.
New Gopher men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson introduced in March

Gophers men's basketball expected to play in North Carolina event

The two games will be scheduled the weekend after new coach Ben Johnson makes his Gophers coaching debut at Williams Arena on Nov. 9.
Parker Fox led Northern State the past two seasons. The 6-8 Fox averaged 22.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last season.

U's All-American transfer Fox out 6 to 9 months after knee surgery

Former Division II All-American forward Parker Fox from Mahtomedi suffered the injury while working out a few days after committing to the U.
Kevin Garnett in 2005

Noon-hour basketball with U coach Johnson and KG 'was like NBA Finals Game 7'

As Kevin Garnett was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend, Ben Johnson couldn't help but flash back to when Garnett guarded him in a pickup game.
Kevin Garnett, a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, speaks during a ceremony announcing the finalists at the United Center in

Hall of Fame inductee Garnett changed basketball in Minnesota for good

Young basketball hopefuls and fans in Minnesota noticed KG's greatness first. The state of hockey grew in love with basketball, forever changed by a player who inspired an entire generation of talent.
Boston College’s Steffon Mitchell (41) shoots against Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Boston,

Gophers basketball in the market for much-needed frontcourt depth

New Gophers coach Ben Johnson and his staff are working to find their center for next season and more inside help. Here are some players who may be available.
Wisconsin’s Brad Davison against Minnesota during the second half March 1, 2020

Gophers men's hoops Big Ten opponents include playing rival Wisconsin twice next season

Big Ten men's hoops released its 20-game league schedule Thursday, including the Gophers' home and road opponents.
U men's basketball to pick up delayed series with Mississippi State in December

U men's basketball to pick up delayed series with Mississippi State in December

The schools had been scheduled to play last season at Williams Arena. But that game was postponed due to the pandemic and will be played in 2022-23.
Parker Fox led Northern State the past two seasons. The 6-8 Fox averaged 22.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game last season.

Gophers officially announce signing D-II All-American Parker Fox

Parker Fox, of Mahtomedi, has two years of eligibility remaining for the Gophers
Minnesota guard Both Gach looked to take a shot as Illinois guard Andre Curbelo raced to defend

Gophers' Gach enters transfer portal; Carr declares for NBA draft

Both Gach, a 6-6 junior from Austin, has decided he isn't likely to return to Minnesota next season. Marcus Carr averaged 19.4 points and 4.0 assists last year.
D1 Minnesota coach Joe Burger conducts practice with Cam Heide, Kendall Blue, Josh Ola-Joseph and Taison Chatman (left to right).

Two top Gophers basketball targets playing in Wayzata AAU tourney

Cam Heide and Taison Chatman are arguably the top two high school basketball prospects in their respective classes in the state of Minnesota.
University of Minnesota photo The Gophers surrounded coach Piper Ridder before an April game against Purdue.

Gophers softball series against Michigan could decide Big Ten title

The top two teams in the conference will square off four times over the next three days in Minneapolis.
Photos by RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER • Renee.jones@startribune.com Dashing figure: Noah Burton (top) ran the 400-meter hurdles at the M City Classic las

Son of former U basketball star Burton hitting his stride in Gophers track

Willie Burton's No. 34 jersey hangs in the Williams Arena rafters as a reminder of his storied career. His son Noah is gaining attention as a sprinter and hurdler.
Payton Willis (left) and Eric Curry (right) played AAU basketball for the Arkansas Wings, along with Tyrik Dixon (middle) who went on to play for Midd

Payton Willis' Gophers return reunites him with best friend Curry

Willis and Curry were AAU teammates in Arkansas before college and missed a chance to play together two seasons ago when Curry was injured.
Minnesota forward Brandon Johnson celebrated after hitting a three point shot in overtime vs. Iowa

U forward Johnson enters transfer portal, remains in NBA draft process

Brandon Johnson has talked with new Gophers coach Ben Johnson about keeping his options open to play pro or using the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA because of the pandemic.
Marcus Jenkins worked as an assistant coach for Richmond last season, as the Spiders finished 14-9.

U to complete men's basketball staff with Richmond assistant

Marcus Jenkins would join Ben Johnson's staff after being the associate head coach at Richmond since 2018.
New Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson receives his own number from athletic director Mark Coyle on March 23.

Ben Johnson's contract approved by university's Board of Regents

The board held a special meeting to approve the five-year deal, which puts the men's basketball coach's salary at 13th among the 14 Big Ten coaches.
Cretin-Derham Hall’s Tre Holloman

Top talent dwindles, so U basketball must score next-level state stars

There doesn't appear to be another Chet Holmgren or Jalen Suggs in the next few years. Could that actually work to the advantage of the Gophers and new coach Ben Johnson?
Gophers guard Marcus Carr drove to the basket past North Dakota forward Filip Rebraca December 4

North Dakota grad transfer Rebraca picks Iowa over Gophers

The Gophers were working hard to land North Dakota big man Filip Rebraca, but he announced that he's going to the Hawkeyes next season.
The Gopher spring football game held inside the Athletes Village on April 13, 2019

Johnson, Whalen to be guest coaches for U spring football game

Ben Johnson and Lindsay Whalen will "coach" the Gold and Maroon teams in the Gophers spring game May 1 at TCF Bank Stadium.
Adanna Rollins (20) ranked third on the Gophers team with 158 kills this season.

Volleyball standout Rollins leaving Gophers; Samedy named All-America

All-Big Ten outside hitter Adanna Rollins helped Minnesota advance to the Sweet 16 this season but announced Wednesday she's transferring.
Former Gophers forward Jarvis Omersa (shown dunking against Loyola Marymount in December) announced Sunday he is transferring to St. Thomas.

Ex-Gophers forward Omersa commits to St. Thomas

The former Orono standout opted out last season with the Gophers and entered the transfer portal. He's the Tommies' third Division I transfer.
Parker Fox led Northern State in scoring the past two seasons. This season, he averaged 22.3 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.

Stepping up: Division II All American Fox chooses Gophers

Parker Fox, who is from Mahtomedi, will try to prove he can play at a higher level by returning home after he committed Thursday night to play for the U.
The new Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson

Gophers, Tommies to benefit from NCAA's new transfer rule

Expected to be made official later this month, the rule has already yielded two former Twin Cities prep basketball stars for St. Thomas and aided new U basketball coach Ben Johnson.
The Gophers volleyball team swept Georgia Tech on Thursday night in Omaha in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Gophers volleyball sweeps Georgia Tech in NCAA opener

The third-seeded Gophers got off to a strong start to the postseason Thursday with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-18 victory.
Theo John averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 26 games last season for Marquette.

U contacts ex-Champlin Park star Theo John, who's been at Marquette

The Marquette senior heard from the Gophers after entering the NCAA transfer portal this week. He is deciding whether to play one more college season.
Dave Thorson coached DeLaSalle in 2016 before returning to the college ranks as an assistant under Niko Medved.

Stars align as Dave Thorson returns to Gophers with former pupil Ben Johnson

DeLaSalle icon returns to Gophers to coach with his former pupil, Ben Johnson.
Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson.

Ben Johnson speaks with Gophers players about Daunte Wright's shooting death

"Our guys are obviously old enough to drive and will be in cars and out in the streets in the city."
Center Liam Robbins is on the move again, headed to Vanderbilt after one season with the Gophers. He arrived in Minnesota after transferring from Drak

Former Gophers center Liam Robbins to transfer to Vanderbilt

The 7-foot center entered his name into the transfer portal recently and could join his uncle at Vanderbilt
New Hampshire’s Sean Sutherlin played against UConn in December 2019.

New Hampshire transfer and former Irondale guard Sean Sutherlin picks Gophers

The New Hampshire graduate transfer is the fourth commitment for new Gophers basketball coach Ben Johnson
Minnesota guard Gabe Kalscheur took an outside shot as Maryland guard Eric Ayala reached to block in the first half.

Former Gophers guard Gabe Kalscheur will transfer to Iowa State

The former DeLaSalle star was one of eight players from the Gophers in the transfer portal from last season.
New Gophers assistant Dave Thorson talked to his DeLaSalle team in 2015. He later was an assistant at Drake and Colorado State.

New U basketball assistants hitting the ground running in recruiting

North Dakota transfer Filip Rebraca enjoyed his video call with new Gophers coach Ben Johnson and his staff, including assistants Dave Thorson and Jason Kemp.
Dave Thorson won nine state championships as DeLaSalle’s boys basketball coach.

Johnson expected to name his high school coach to U coaching staff

Dave Thorson, the longtime DeLaSalle coach, spent the last three seasons on Colorado State's staff. He was a Gophers assistant under Clem Haskins.
Richard Pitino coached the Gophers for eight seasons.

Richard Pitino's Gophers buyout, once $7.1 million, drops to zero

The university owes no buyout money to former Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino under terms of their separation agreement, obtained Wednesday by the Star Tribune.
Liam Robbins became the eighth Gophers men’s basketball player to enter the NCAA trabsfer portal.

Robbins eighth U player in transfer portal; Johnson battles 'uncharted waters'

If Liam Robbins doesn't return to play for the Gophers, new coach Ben Johnson would need to find another post player capable of filling a tough role in the Big Ten.
Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert (24) hugs Jalen Suggs (1) as Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) looks on at the end of the championship game.

Baylor foils Gonzaga's bid for perfection, wins NCAA basketball title

There were no Jalen Suggs-produced miracles in the final even though the freshman and former Minnehaha Academy star led the Zags with 22 points.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs launched — and made — a 30-foot, game-winning three-pointer in overtime to defeat the UCLA Bruins 93-90 during the NCAA

When Jalen Suggs gets the ball, good things always seem to happen

Suggs has been producing clutch plays and memorable moments — in two sports — since his Minnehaha Academy days, so his overtime buzzer-beater to defeat UCLA was nothing new.
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs

Suggs looking to cement his Minnesota basketball legacy

An NCAA title with No. 1 Gonzaga this weekend would place Jalen Suggs alongside Tyus Jones and Khalid El-Amin.
Transfers from Lafayette and William & Mary commit to Gophers men's basketball

Transfers from Lafayette and William & Mary commit to Gophers men's basketball

The 6-4 Luke Loewe and 6-3 E.J. Stephens are the second and third commitments for Gophers coach Ben Johnson.
 Gabe Kalscheur (22) has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Kalscheur becomes sixth Gophers player to enter transfer portal

The shooting guard from DeLaSalle is exploring his options but could end up staying at the U.
New Gophers men’s basketball coach Ben Johnson has never been a head coach but has worked his way up by serving as an assistant coach at five colleg

New Gophers coach Johnson always showed signs of big things to come

Ben Johnson's slow and steady rise through college basketball's coaching ranks began with a long ride with Mom and Dad.
Chet Holmgren, Minnehaha Academy Redhawks

Holmgren on Ben Johnson's hiring: 'I see him doing really good things'

Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 high school prospect in the nation, said he's talked to new Gophers coach Ben Johnson. But Minnesota isn't the favorite to get Holmgren.
Minnesota guard Tre’ Williams shoots over Ohio State guard Duane Washington Jr. in the first half March 11, 2021.

Williams, Freeman latest Gophers players to enter transfer portal

The sophomores from Texas were part of the 2019 recruiting class. Tre Williams started the last eight games of the season.
Courtney Brown Jr., shown here playing for East Ridge at the boys’ basketball state tournament in 2019, is the first transfer to join St. Thomas as

St. Thomas lands first D-I transfer: Ex-East Ridge standout Courtney Brown Jr.

The 6-foot-7 Brown played his last two seasons at UW Milwaukee, including averaging 5.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 17 games as a sophomore.
Parker Fox swoops in for Northern State

High-flying Division II transfer Fox has talked to Gophers about transfer

Parker Fox of Mahtomedi, a 6-6 All-America from Northern State, has chatted with Ben Johnson, and has Minnesota on a long list of schools he's checking out.
Gophers assistant coach Ed Conroy watched Tre Williams during a practice.

Gophers look ready to invest more in Johnson's coaching staff

Ben Johnson is a first-time head coach at any level, and AD Mark Coyle has spoken of the need to increase the assistant coaching salary pool.
Ben Johnson answered questions at Tuesday morning’s press conference.

Johnson wants Gophers to be gritty, confident team with an edge

New men's basketball coach Ben Johnson's ideal players will have the skills to shoot, but the unselfishness to pass to teammates with better opportunities.
Ben Johnson has served as a Xavier assistant for the past three seasons after previously serving as a Gophers assistant.

Happy return: Ben Johnson comes home to take Gophers basketball job

Johnson persuaded his alma mater to gamble on a rookie coach because of his passion for Minnesota and strength as a local recruiter, according to people familiar with the search.
Former Minnesota assistant Ben Johnson listened to head coach Richard Pitino during a 2017 home game. Johnson is at Xavier now.

Would Gophers hire an assistant to be next men's basketball coach?

Before Penn State hired an assistant to be its head coach recently, that hadn't happened in the Big Ten since 2013.
Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates found his name mentioned in regard to coaching openings even before his team’s NCAA loss.

List of potential Gophers coaches grows as teams lose in NCAA tournament

University of Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle can now, if he chooses, more easily pursue Cleveland State's Dennis Gates, San Diego State's Brian Dutcher and Utah State's Craig Smith.
Sam Mitchell was the Timberwolves interim coach in 2015-16.

Is Gophers basketball a 'hidden gem' of a program? Sam Mitchell thinks so

The former Timberwolves and Toronto Raptors coach said he's interested in coaching the Gophers and his NBA background would help him recruit top-tier talent.
Minnesota guard Marcus Carr drove to the basket vs. Iowa.

Marcus Carr enters transfer portal but keeping options open for next year

The All-Big Ten point guard is expected to go through the NBA draft process again before making a decision about his final year of college eligibility.
Richard Pitino said Thursday of his time in Minnesota:  “We had some great moments.”

Pitino lands six-year deal in New Mexico, impact on Gophers buyout unclear

Richard Pitino spoke to a crowd gathered on New Mexico's football field about his new program and the ending of his time in Minnesota.
Five potential Gophers coaching candidates to watch in the NCAA tournament

Five potential Gophers coaching candidates to watch in the NCAA tournament

When Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle introduces the next men's basketball coach, it could be someone roaming the sidelines at this year's NCAA tournament.
Clockwise from top left: Jericho Sims of Texas, Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga, Kerwin Walton of North Carolina and McKinley Wright IV of Colorado.

Eight Minnesotans to watch in the NCAA men's basketball tournament

As the talent continues to grow in youth and prep basketball across Minnesota, so to does the state's imprint on the NCAA tournaments.
Keep an eye on these players as well as your bracket in the NCAA tournament: Ayo Dosumnu of Illinois, Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga (and Minnehaha Academy),

Sixteen sweet tips for your NCAA tournament pool from Marcus Fuller

Don't fill out your bracket before peeking at all the correct (maybe) answers to the big test that starts with Thursday's play-in games.
Gophers' Mashburn enters NCAA transfer portal; will others follow?

Gophers' Mashburn enters NCAA transfer portal; will others follow?

Jamal Mashburn Jr., the top recruit Richard Pitino's 2020 class, is seeking a new start. It's a path others could take as well with a new coaching staff on its way in for 2021-22.
Richard Pitino, upon landing as New Mexico’s coach: “I think I’ve landed at a spot that you can really win big at.”

Coyle vows a winner at U as Pitino faces rebuilding job at New Mexico

Richard Pitino is taking over a last-place team at New Mexico while U athletic director Mark Coyle said 'I did not come to Minnesota to be .500.'