There will be no replacing Austin and Andre Hollins. With the same last names, similar first names, same hometowns, and the sheer confusion they cause unprepared commentators, they will never be forgotten. On the court, it has been a joy to watch them grow into leaders, and it will be sad to see them move on to bigger and better things. That is, unless they never leave… No, this isn’t the beginning of a Halloween inspired tale of backcourt cloning, except in a way it is. Richard Pitino has decided to replace the Hollinses with themselves, or at least their doppelgängers.
On Friday night, while we were busy calculating what scoring deficit to Nebraska is acceptable, Nate Mason committed to the Golden Gophers. Nate Mason is the Andre Hollins of the future. The 6’1” 180 pound guard out of Decatur, Georgia is more of a combo-guard right now, but has point-guard skills. He also has a killer jump-shot with out of the gym range and a nasty pull-up jumper that freezes defenders. He is generally considered a top 150 recruit, just like Andre Hollins was before the current Gopher guard catapulted into the top 100 with a monster senior high school season.
Today, while we were all making our Rose Bowl plans (we would never get too optimistic about a Gopher team) Carlos Morris committed to the Gophers. The 6’5” 175 pound guard is a junior college transfer and will have two years of eligibility for the Gophers. Squirrel, as he likes to be called, was a top 100 overall and top 20 shooting guard recruit out of high school, and a top 5 junior college player. He is long, can handle the ball, and can shoot from the outside too. Recruiting junior college players can seem like flipping a coin. Their past performance is often not indicative of future results. However, because Morris was already highly touted prior to his time in junior college, it is somewhat more likely that he will continue to be a good player after junior college.
The additions of Mason and Morris, and their similarity to the Hollinses, is remarkable given the very different systems that Tubby Smith ran and Richard Pitino intends to run. Tubby Smith always said he wanted his team to run, recruited players who could run, but never got his team to run. Pitino intends to run and is recruiting players to run. We’ll find out soon if he can get his teams to run.