The college basketball offseason is here now, for everyone, and Minnesota is rounding into summer mode having been off the court for a month.
That means the return of Gophers coach Richard Pitino’s blog. The latest post, coming this morning, focuses on next year’s newcomers as well as what Pitino would like to see the returners focus on during the offseason. The coach also makes a pitch for Gophers fans to stick with the team after an 8-23 campaign that was one of the program's worst, promising to “break through very soon” and pointing out that national title winner Villanova struck hard times just a few years ago (the Wildcats won just 13 games in 2011-12 – a blip coming amidst what has been 20-plus win finishes in 11 of the last 12 years).
Pitino doesn’t delve further into the recent transfer of freshman Kevin Dorsey in this post, but he does have some interesting comments.
You can read the entire post here.
A few of the highlights:
*King update. Pitino said Joey King is hoping to get an overseas contract somewhere, which he’s helping with. He said he had offered King the chance to be a graduate assistant with the team next season. It sounds like King wants to keep playing instead.
*Scheduling points. Pitino believes the team will travel for its Big Ten/ ACC Challenge game as its new Gavitt Game matchup with a Big East team. He also said the team has received a verbal agreement to start and series with another “Power 5” team, beginning at Williams Arena. He didn’t elaborate but said the team would announce more details soon.
*Adding/ losing weight. The two players whom Pitino said he would like to see pack on pounds are incoming freshmen Michael Hurt – Pitino wants to see him add 10 pounds, he said – and Amir Coffey. Rising sophomore Dupree McBrayer – who Pitino points out is “extremely serious about taking a huge next step”—has already put on 10 pounds since games ended, he said, and wants him to gain about nine more to land at 190. Meanwhile, he would like to see rising junior Nate Mason lose five pounds, he said.
*Buggs injury. Pitino said Charles Buggs, would will be a fifth-year senior next season, has been out of early postseason workouts with an arm injury. He didn’t elaborate except to say “we don’t believe it’s anything serious.”
*Lynch injury progressing. Transfer big man Reggie Lynch is out of his sling following a February shoulder surgery and has been doing some on-the-court workouts using his left hand, Pitino said. He points out his major concerns with Lynch are his conditioning and the foul trouble at Illinois State.
*Gym rat. Pitino called forward Davonte Fitzgerald “the biggest gym rat on the team,” continuing his praise for the Texas A&M forward. He said Fitzgerald gets extra shots up every morning and every night on his own.