There was a point this summer when Richard Pitino made it clear he wanted Gabe Madsen to be the first player in the 2020 class to commit to the Gophers from Minnesota.
The 6-foot-6 wing from Rochester Mayo was previously scheduled to be the first in-state senior target to make an official visit with the U. But Madsen’s off the board now after he and his twin brother, Mason, committed to Cincinnati on their visit over the weekend.
It was going to be tough for the Gophers to land Madsen without offering a scholarship to his brother. Pitino was being careful with the three scholarships available for the class.
“We can’t take every kid in the state,” said Pitino, speaking generally about recruiting last week. “Sometimes we might not need that position. Sometimes it might not be the right fit – and that’s Ok. That’s not necessarily a big deal.”
Pitino can’t talk about recruits who haven’t signed, but he’d probably tell Gophers fans not to panic about losing Madsen. But where do the Gophers stand now with the rest of their in-state 2020 targets?
Prior Lake’s Dawson Garcia, Hopkins’ Kerwin Walton, Eastview’s Steven Crowl and East Ridge’s Ben Carlson all made an unofficial visit to the Gophers last Thursday before the football team’s opener vs. South Dakota State (along with 2021 Arizona guard Frankie Collins and 2020 Kansas guard Ty Berry on officials).
The atmosphere was ideal with P.J. Fleck’s squad winning in front of 49,112, the largest opening crowd at TCF Bank Stadium since 2015. The next step, though, will be for Pitino to host some Minnesota natives this fall at football games on official visits.
Walton, Crowl and Carlson already scheduled official visits elsewhere. Carlson spent last Friday at Xavier, but also has September trips to Wisconsin, Purdue and Stanford the next three weekends.
Crowl and Carlson both visit the Badgers for their football game Saturday vs. Central Michigan. Crowl also has officials planned for Colorado and Iowa this month.
Walton’s only official visit down so far is with Arizona on Sept. 27. Garcia, who should be narrowing down his list and scheduling official visits in the next week or so, also has an offer from the Wildcats.
Crowl and Carlson are projected by 247Sports.com’s crystal ball to commit to Wisconsin and Xavier, respectively. Five-star Minnehaha Academy guard Jalen Suggs, who has only made an official to Gonzaga, is predicted to join the Zags' recruiting class.
The 6-foot-11 Garcia’s top offers are from Kansas and North Carolina. Another blue-blood program Kentucky has shown interest. But Memphis, Indiana, Marquette and Baylor seem like the schools in the mix at Minnesota’s level. The Golden Eagles had been an early projected favorite for Garcia by 247Sports.com, but they're now 50% on the crystal ball to land the five-star big man.
Both Garcia and Walton have spoken very highly of the Gophers this summer. Walton said recently he’s wide open with his recruitment. The 6-4 sharpshooter has a Kansas offer, but he’s also hearing a lot from Ohio State and Iowa State. Arkansas might also be appealing since he has family there.
Overall, Pitino has only lost two recruiting battles (Gabe Madsen and Park Center's Dain Dainja committed to Baylor) with the seven scholarships offered to Minnesota’s 2020 prospects. So, there is still a chance he could keep at least one of the state’s best players from leaving home.