JF

…after a pleasantly uneventful signing day.

The press release:

The Minnesota men’s basketball program today announced the signings of Justin Cobbs, Royce White and Rodney Williams to National Letters of Intent. All three players will be eligible to compete during the 2009-10 season.

“We are pleased with the number of young men we were able to sign. We believe that we have improved our talent level with this class and have fulfilled our needs,”” said head coach Tubby Smith. “”This group has a lot of local flavor which stimulates a lot of excitement for our local fan base. One of the things we wanted to do when we came here was to give all of the young men that want to play at the University of Minnesota the opportunity to do so and I feel like we are doing that. We are excited to have Royce, Rodney, and Justin joining the Golden Gopher family.””

Cobbs, a 6-3 senior guard at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif., led the Knights to a 26-7 record in 2007-08. He was named the Co-Player of the Year in the CIF Conference as a junior and is a three-time CIF selection.

“”One of the things we needed was a point guard, because right now Al Nolen is the only true point guard in the program,”” said Smith. “”Justin a physical point guard who can score as well as defend and pass.””

White, a senior at Hopkins High School, has scored in double figures in every game the past two seasons and scored 20 or more points 11 times last season as a junior. The Minneapolis native has averaged 21.2 and 21.8 points per game the past two seasons, respectively, and scored a career-high 33 points against Minneapolis Patrick Henry in 2007-08. White, a 6’8″” forward, was a member of Team USA at the Nike Global Challenge last summer and also participated in the Vince Carter Skills Academy.

“”Royce has a chance to really be something special here at Minnesota,”” said Smith. He is a talented young man who is capable of playing multiple positions and doing a lot of different things on the basketball court.””

Williams, a native of Minneapolis, Minn. is a senior at Cooper High School in Robbinsdale, Minn. He led the Hawks to a record of 23-9 and a fourth place finish at the Minnesota State High School tournament last season while averaging 23.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 2.4 assists per game. As a sophomore in 2006-07, Williams averaged 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 2.3 assists.

“”Rodney is probably as athletic as any player we have here at Minnesota,”” said Smith. “”He is a young man who is still growing and he will have a chance to take his high school team (Robbinsdale Cooper) to a State Championship. He is a local player who will awe our fans with his athleticism.””

The Gophers open the regular season at Williams Arena on Friday, Nov. 14, against Concordia-St. Paul in the first game of the NABC Classic, a four-team round-robin tournament hosted by the University of Minnesota. Game two will pit the Gophers against Bowling Green on Saturday, Nov. 15 with game three taking place on Sunday, Nov. 16 against Georgia State.

Single-game and season tickets are still available for the 2008-09 season. Fans interested in purchasing tickets may call the ticket office at 612-624-8080, or toll free at 1-800-U-GOPHER. Tickets may also be purchased through Minnesota’s official athletics department website, www.gophersports.com.

Mbakwe is scheduled to sign tomorrow.