JF

Speaking of Lou Dobbs… La migra loses, Gophers win, and Paul Carter is in good academic shape too!

By Marcus Fuller
mfuller@pioneerpress.com

Now there’s nothing stopping Canadian star Devoe Joseph from playing for the Gophers men’s basketball team next season.

One of University of Minnesota coach Tubby Smith’s top recruits from the 2008 class, Joseph was ruled eligible Thursday to play by the NCAA Clearinghouse, according to men’s basketball team spokesman Matt Slieter.

“He’s in,” Slieter said in a phone interview. “I just got the word from our compliance office that he’s been cleared to play.”

The 6-foot-3 guard had been waiting to hear from the NCAA about his eligibility because of a new rule that states incoming freshman can only have one core course count toward their college eligibility from classes taken after their fourth year of high school. Joseph was a fifth-year senior at Pickering High School in Ajax, Ontario, this past season.

“With all of my guys, the process gets drawn out more, because of the fact that they’re Canadian and because of the changes in rules,” said Joseph’s AAU coach, Ro Russell, who runs the Grassroots Canada basketball program. “It makes it tougher based on how things work in Canada.”

The Gophers, who landed a top 15 recruiting class, already have three of their five recruits enrolled and are expected to get the fourth soon. Junior college player of the year Devron Bostick and freshmen big men Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson III arrived this summer.

Another recruit, sophomore Paul Carter, finished up some courses at his junior college and is expected to arrive in two weeks.

Losing Joseph would have been a big blow to the Gophers, who were 20-14 in Smith’s first season. But now they’re adding a player who Rivals.com calls the potential “sleeper to watch” of the incoming recruits in the Big Ten conference — someone who could provide instant scoring and more ball-handling depth to the team.

As Down with Goldy recently pointed out, there were worries of whether Joseph would show up, and rightfully so. The combination of student visas and Canadian highschool geared more towards mounties and maple syrup production* often lead the best laid recruiting plans to go awry. But right now, Tubby’s first recruiting class and the best Gopher recruiting class in over a decade all look like they will arrive ready to play.

*As the proud desendent of French Canadians, I take great pride in these national symbols, but take no responsibility for the Olympic team.