Sampson is looking for a dominant game in Friday's opener

Sampson is looking for a dominant game in Friday's opener


Some notes from today’s media access:

  • Coach Tubby Smith said Andre Hollins will likely start again tomorrow at point guard, despite the freshman struggling a bit more on Monday against Augustana. Smith noted he had been doing a good job of learning on the job. Tomorrow should bring another big test with sophomore Cameron Ayers as his defending assignment.
  • Guard Julian Welch, Smith said, is fully healthy from a turned ankle two weeks ago, and should get quality minutes at the point.
  • Smith again said that Welch could and would play some shooting guard, but he doesn’t sound ready to stick him at the position imminently. Smith said he was pleased with both Austin Hollins and Chip Armelin at the 2-guard on Monday.
  • Smith noted that Ralph Sampson III got pushed around some on Monday, when he went 1-for-5 from the field had seven turnovers. “A lot of it is we’ve got to get Ralph to be more physical and post up lower. They did a good job of just playing behind him and I think they forced him too far up the lane and I think he was frustrated. ... And he did a good job of pitching it out early. If we had hit some jumpers early on when he threw it out … well then I think he got a little frustrated and thought, ‘I’m going to try to take these guys and try to dribble.’ You just can’t dribble down there with quick guard like they have.”
  • In the past two weeks, Division II teams have played the Gophers hard, and neither have been blowouts, but Trevor Mbakwe said Thursday that the team is ready for the next challenge. “We’re really excited,” he said. “Just being able to watch college basketball on TV last night got me really pumped. We know it’s going to be a tough challenge … I think all the guys are just ready and excited just to go against another D-I team.”

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Gophers basketball chat begins at noon