Wow, what an offseason. Usually at this point in the summer we barely even know the University of Minnesota even has a basketball team aside from the occasional arrest, DUI charge or transfer.
BUT NOT WITH RICHARD IN TOWN.
Even after a highly-publicized coaching search, the Gophers remain in the local spotlight with a handful of transfers, both in an out. We’ve covered a couple of the stories here and here, but with the most recent transfer of local high school product Joey King (Eastview) from Drake, things are starting to get a little confusing. Some guys have graduated, some guys have left, some guys have arrived, some guys are no longer redshirted. It’s really all over the place. Did you even know that Chris Halvorsen is gone? So let’s do the arithmetic and review the current Gophers roster.
- Trevor Mbakwe, PF/C
- Rodney Williams, PF/SF
- Julian Welch, G
- Andre Ingram, PF
WHO TRANSFERRED OUT?
- Joe Coleman, G/F
- Chris Halvorson, (we’ll call him a PF)
WHO TRANSFERRED IN?
- Daquien McNeil, freshman PG/SG (he’s out of high school, but he’s following Pitino from FIU to Minnesota so I’m calling him a transfer)
- Joey King, sophomore PF (transferred from Drake, but should be eligible to play immediately due to a hardship waiver)
- Malik Smith, senior SG (transferred from Florida International, eligible to play immediately)
- Dre Mathieu, junior SG (transferred from Central Arizona CC, a JUCO, eligible to play immediately)
WHO IS NOT LONGER REDSHIRTED?
- Charles Buggs, PF
So there you have it. Basically the team will look nothing like it did last year with six guys either graduating or leaving and five new guys planning to see the floor. Oh, and Wally Ellenson is set to receive a lot more playing time, so he’s basically going to be a new player as well.
And if that wasn’t enough, there are still rumors floating around that the Gophers might end up with Rakeem Buckles, a frontcourt big man who would fill an additional size need for Minnesota. The Gophers still have one scholarship to play around with, and with Buckles only with a single year of eligibility remaining it would make perfect sense as the team looks to want flexibility to make it rain with the class of 2014. So who knows, we might not even be done with the roster shuffle yet.
How is playing time going to be allocated? That is completely open for debate. The starting five will at least consist of Dre Hollins, Austin Hollins and Elliott Eliason. That much is for sure. But with a whole bunch of guards now in the mix it’s unclear how everyone will fit in. And with Ellenson part of Tubby’s tenure, will Richard even want to use him that much? Here’s my far too early guess at the starting lineup:
PG: Dre Mathieu
SG: Dre Hollins
SF: Austin Hollins
PF: Joey King
C: Elliott Eliason
It’s a bit unconventional (Austin at the 3) but with all this talk about playing up-tempo and with Richard’s obvious affinity for guys that can shoot, I see the Gophers starting with players out there who can hit jumpers. And Austin should be able to handle his own on defense against slightly bigger players. That’s also why I see King getting a starting nod over Mo Walker, Oto Osenieks and Charles Buggs. He has an additional year on Buggs and can shoot well for a big man.
It’s going to be a much different year for the Gophers, folks. At the very least I’m really excited to watch a team that can shoot. That should be a welcome change.