Gophers basketball makes inroads in recruiting, but has little to show

  • Article by: Amelia Rayno , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 27, 2013 - 12:36 AM

Richard Pitino and his new staff have drawn interest from top Class of 2014 players, but no one’s coming yet.

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tcstunnerSep. 26, 1310:24 PM

Great article Ameila. The key is patience. Things were never going to improve overnight. It's obvious he's already made a huge improvement in recruiting just from how many 4 and 5 star recruits final lists he's making. Let's all take a deep breath and give the man some time.

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majones707Sep. 26, 1310:47 PM

What I hope is that one of the 5 largest universities, in regards to population in the United States, opens up its checkbook and buys at least facilities that are inline with other schools in its conference. Really only Arizona State is larger other then online or community colleges in the U.S.. The U of M has 3 revenue producing sports: Hockey, Football, and Basketball. The U of M is the only university in the state of Minnesota and the Twin Cities which is a top 20 metropolitan area population wise in the U.S.. Not having a practice facility is kind of an embarrassment.

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majones707Sep. 26, 1310:49 PM

We need to give Pitino or whomever is the coach the best opportunity to succeed and that starts with a good infrastructure and facilities.

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bbliss2022Sep. 27, 13 7:02 AM

Spartan fan here. This whole recruiting process is hard on the nerves. Not sure if it's fact or fiction, but the kids seem to be taking longer and longer to decide. I feel for Oklahoma and Minnesota, devoting so much time in recruiting these kids and then end up with nothing after another program swoops in at the last minute. For what it's worth, Narin is MSU's first commit for 2014 and we'll be losing about 4-5 players after this year. So we need to get more recruits. Reid, if you're reading this, you'd look great in green buddy.

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unlikesidSep. 27, 13 7:25 AM

I have a friend who recruited for Wake and Georgia Tech. What a messy business that is. He was a coach at both but one of his main duties was recruiting. High School kids are fickle, headstrong, impulsive. I would hate to try to do this from MN standpoint. Great state, cool city, lack of facilities and dang cold a good chunk of the school year. Control what you can.

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timandtiaSep. 27, 13 8:51 AM

I hope that this recruiting process works out. How I would hate to watch the Gophers play with all "out of state" players - how boring! The main question here, is what is keeping athletes away from the Gophers?

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kev5115Sep. 27, 13 8:54 AM

If Tubby would have been fired when he should have 2 or 3 years ago we might by now have top recruits coming here. The best thing is you go from lazy recruiting to tenacious recruiting, which will pay off soon. And, coach Pitino isn't going to give a kid a scholarship if he isn't going to fit in here. Pitino has to deal with a few players that Tubby brought here that should be on a D II or III roster.

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bizzle22Sep. 27, 1310:02 AM

kev5115...Pitino has to deal with players who should be on a D2/D3 roster?? Who are you referring to? We graduated two starters (Mbakwe/Williams) and two more (Welch/Ingram) guys who saw minutes last year. Most D1 teams have guys on the end of their bench who would maybe be better placed on a D2 or D3 roster, but it isn't like Tubby left the cupboard completely bare. Andre Hollins, Austin Hollins, Eliason, Buggs, Ellenson, and even Mo all easily belong in D1 and will contribute this year.

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bizzle22Sep. 27, 1310:14 AM

And I disagree with Amelia's comment that the Gophers "failed to consistently recruit top national talent under former coach Tubby Smith." It seems to me like that statement puts the blame on Tubby when I think the problem is much bigger than that. Tubby got the guys he could. The problem is it's never been a tradition in Gopher basketball to get top-tier national guys, and that didn't start with Tubby Smith. And plus, Tubby got most of the big-time MN recruits in his time at MN, while also looking outside the state in the years when in-state high school players weren't considered to be very good. Rodney and Coleman were both top 100 recruits from MN. other than them there weren't very many MN guys considered to be "top-tier nationals talents." Tubby also managed to pry top 100 recruits from other states like he did with Andre, Austin, and Wally. Tubby's problem was not GETTING top 100 guys, it was in DEVELOPING them. I'm not going to judge Pitino on the rankings of his recruiting classes. I don't care who he gets as long as he shows can develop them. If he can do that, the systemic problem of MN not getting top players can be solved, because if he shows he can develop talent then the top recruits will want to come here.

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woolsey24Sep. 27, 1310:28 AM

@wilsonmi: Why was firing Tubby a "damn shame?" Tubby had one of most lucrative contracts in NCAA. He had one NCAA win in 5 years while making 2.5 mil a year. That right there is a shame? Also, how is the AD writing out big checks? Signing Pitino saved millions and he has proven to be a better recruiter. Tubby had good recruits in his first two years and one exception is Andre Hollins. Other than that, Tubby was an old, lazy recruiter. Pitino's recruiting is resulting in Minnesota's name coming up on top 5 lists on recruits that Tubby couldn't even touch. Lastly, Tubby NEVER finished about .500 in the B1G all while receiving the 3rd richest contract in the best college basketball conference.

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