A few pictures from yesterday:
Nothing particularly newsworthy happened. Damian Johnson’s recovery is well underway, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he came back a week later. He didn’t really participate in a low of the practice, but is able to shoot. His knee also looks much better and he was not wearing a brace and seemed to be moving fine. Jonathan Williams is out with a groin injury and sat out most of the practice.
According to Marcus Fuller:
The Gophers men’s basketball team held an open scrimmage Saturday afternoon at Williams Arena. Pioneer Press intern Brice Lehner attended the scrimmage and provided some notes.
– Junior forward Damian Johnson, who is out with a broken left (non-shooting) hand, shot around a little with his left wrist taped up. He participated in practice but didn’t play in the scrimmage.
– Seniors Jamal Abu-Shamala and Jon Williams are recovering from injuries but participated in practice drills. Williams (groin) didn’t participate in the scrimmage, but Abu-Shamala (back) did. Gophers coach Tubby Smith said both players should play Monday in the first exhibition game against St. Cloud State at Williams Arena.
— Smith said he was unsure of what the starting lineup would be for Monday’s exhibition game.
— Teams in the scrimmage were split up as follows:
Gold Team: Blake Hoffarber, Devoe Joseph, Ralph Sampson III, Travis Busch, Devron Bostick.
Maroon Team: Al Nolen, Paul Carter, Colton Iverson, Lawrence Westbrook, Kevin Payton and Abu-Shamala.
— The Gold team won the 20-minute scrimmage 46-42.
Gold team scorers:
Hoffarber – 17
Joseph – 6
Sampson – 6
Busch – 8
Bostick – 9
Maroon team scorers:
Nolen – 4
Carter – 15
Iverson – 6
Westbrook – 7
Abu-Shamala – 7
Payton – 1
— After the 20-minute scrimmage, the Gophers ran a five-minute overtime session with the score starting at 60-60. The Gold team won 71-66.
Hoffarber – 2
Joseph – 1
Sampson – 6
Busch – 2
Carter – 2
Iverson – 2
Westbrook – 2
And Myron Medcalf
Carter impresses at U basketball scrimmage
At 6-8, Paul Carter has the size and versatility to contribute in a variety of ways for the Gophers men’s basketball team during the upcoming season.
And if his performance in a 25-minute intrasquad scrimmage at Williams Arena on Saturday is any indicator, Carter is ready to make an impact now.
The junior college transfer led the maroon team — Carter, Al Nolen, Colton Iverson, Kevin Payton, Lawrence Westbrook and Jamal Abu-Shamala — with 15 points. But his team lost 46-42 to the gold team of Blake Hoffarber, Travis Busch, Ralph Sampson III, Devoe Joseph and Devron Bostick in the first part of the scrimmage. The gold team also outscored the maroon squad 11-6 in a five-minute scrimmage after that.
Hoffarber made three three-pointers and led all scorers with 17 points. Sampson added 12 for the gold team and Westbrook had 11.
Gophers coach Tubby Smith said both Carter and Hoffarber could start in Monday’s exhibition game against St. Cloud State at Williams Arena.
“We had some guys who performed well, and we had some guys who need to work on some things,” Smith said. “Both Blake and Paul … they’re both probably guys that we’ll have to look at and see what we come up with our starting lineup.
“It gives us something to evaluate tonight and tomorrow.”
Flip likes new lookFormer Gophers standout and Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders attended Saturday’s scrimmage and gave the Gophers coaching staff a few pointers, too.
Saunders said the Gophers, who have five newcomers, look like a more athletic team than they were last season.
“I think the biggest thing you can see is one, the amount of depth they have, much more size, much more athletic and like I said, a lot of depth,” said Saunders, whose son, Ryan, is a graduate assistant for the Gophers after being a guard on the team the past four seasons. “They have a very good melting pot.
“… The biggest thing is going to be how as a young team and new team, how quick is it going to take to blend together.”
Williams may not play Monday
Senior Jonathan Williams, who is expected to start at center this season, is nursing a groin injury and is questionable for Monday’s exhibition game.
Williams suffered the injury last week and missed some practice because of it. He sat out of Saturday’s scrimmage.
Play of the nightToward the end of the scrimmage, Iverson, a 6-11 freshman center, grabbed a high rebound and stayed in the air to finish with a thunderous two-hand dunk that excited the few hundred fans in attendance.
Iverson turned down a scholarship offer from Florida to play for the Gophers, and Smith cited that play as a testament to the team’s upgrade in athleticism.