The Gophers got their man, incoming freshman point guard Verdell Jones, over Kentucky and Indiana. Sources, including radio station KFAN, are saying that Jones will announce his intention to play for the Gophers during his Monday afternoon press conference. Arizona was his first choice, but earlier this week it became clear that Wildcat coach Lute Olson was content with his current roster and wouldn’t be adding an additional players.
Jones is the 4th top 150 player joining the Gophers for the 2008-2009 season, and by all account the purest point guard. While many were hoping for another front court player and a more tradition Big Ten banger, count me firmly in the “Horray for point guards” camp. Al Nolen was much better than expected last year, but the offense (and defense) fell apart when he was hurt or out of the game. Devoe Joseph has previously said he wants to play point guard, but if he turned out to be more of a shooting guard, that would leave the Gophers only with Nolen, and occasionally Westbrook to run the offense. Westbrook also showed he is most effective playing off-guard, even though he is undersized. The point guard situation became so bleak near the end of the season that both Kevin Payton and Blake Hoffarber, both playing out of position, were responsible for handling the ball. Jones may turn out to be a better shooting guard, or, being the freshman that he is, may not turn out at all. But his apparent arrival gives the Gophers their best chance at a steady presence when Al Nolen is not on the floor.
So what say you? The roster is set. Is Jones a good (apparent) signing? With the roster set, what are you predictions for next year? What are you most excited about or most worried about. October is only 6 months away!