Let me take you back to the dark days of January 2008. Point guard play was bleak, and there was little help coming in. The Golden Gophers desperately needed to land a point guard. Instead they whiffed on Verdell Jones. Al Nolen would get suspended and then hurt, Devoe Joseph was more concerned about greener extracurricular activities, and two promising seasons went down the drain as the team was left rudderless.
This off-season’s recruiting is beginning to look a bit like early 2008, except that the Gophers are hardly in dire straits when it comes to ball-handlers. The news that Riley LaChance will play for Vanderbilt could have been grounds to panic. Thankfully, Richard Pitino understands the importance of ball-handlers, and has fully stocked his back court shelf for the next two seasons.
Andre Hollins, Dre Mathieu, Daquein McNeil, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Malik Smith (in order of ball-handling competence) are all able to play point guard. An injury or two would not be devastating to the team’s basic ability to run an offense. Smith and Ahanmisi will be gone after this season, but that will still leave Richard Pitino with a three ball-handler rotation.
The Gophers haven’t found that point guard of the future, but they have enough options next season to avoid taking the first player available that can dribble the ball between his legs. Tubby Smith was criticized, justifiably, for taking spring recruits just to fill roster spots. Richard Pitino doesn’t need to do that, at least until the spring of 2015. Nate Mason appears to be the last remaining point guard target from the class of 2014. If he decides he doesn’t want to play for the Golden Gophers, expect Richard Pitino to focus on other positions of need (unless Tyus Jones decides to do the right thing). Pitino isn’t panicking yet, and neither should you.