Last week in Gopher Hoops we saw this years team tested for the second game in a row with a close game at home against Costal Carolina. As noted by Zips, this game may have been a bit fluky but there were hints about the current state of the team as we look ahead to Maui. Our second game of the week was against Wofford and the game was another blowout against a clearly inferior team.
Dre Mathieu A Last Week: B- Season GPA: 3.33
The team’s pacesetter had a great week shooting the ball going 9-15 shooting the ball along with 9-10 from the free throw line while displaying improved decision making once he hits the second level of the defense. In the pick and roll, Dre continues to cross back against the help defender towards the baseline and draws two defenders while looking to then distribute the ball against a four on three look for the spread out Gophers offense. As always, Dre’s speed is impressive and it stands out both offensively and defensively. While most Gopher fans are wary as to how Dre stacks up against this weeks improved competition the lead guard continues to find a way.
Andre Hollins A- Last Week: A Season GPA: 3.56
Big Dre had a bit of a rough week that started when he crashed face first into Joey King late against Costal Carolina, but it has been increasingly difficult to be critical of his play. Even in a in a blowout win against Wofford where he looked disinterested at times Big Dre found a way to contribute outside of points adding seven rebounds, ten assists, and four steals to his weekly stat line. With Maui on the horizon, Dre has had a spectacular start to his season and we can look for him to continue his full breakout against tougher competition.
Austin Hollins B+ Last Week: B+ Season GPA: 3.22
With the emergence of Austin’s rebounding last week it was important to note that Austin did have another big rebounding game against Wofford but was quiet on the glass in a close win over Costal Carolina. This leads to the question of just how important is Austin’s new found rebounding skills? At this moment, it is too early to measure Austin’s new rebounding effect considering in the other close game (Richmond) Austin had 11 rebounds and also we expect this team rebounding to look differently with the return of Mo Walker this week. If this trend continues it will only mean good things for this Gophers team, as Austin’s ability to take the ball coast to coast from a missed shot is special and will lead to easy baskets for the entire team.
Oto Osenieks B+ Last Week: B- Season GPA: 3.11
An aggressive Oto is a good Oto, and that’s exactly who we saw this week. Taking a total of 19 shots in two games this past week, Oto hit over 50% of his shots while hitting a three in each game. In addition to his improved shooting, Oto added five boards in both games. While not a feature playing in the offensive scheme, Oto does a good job of not only spacing the court but also mixing it up inside and screen setting, as of late and could be very valuable against Syracuse offensively. It still remains to be seen how Oto handles playing against bigger and athletic PF’s as he has a tendency to foul and park himself on the bench.
Elliott Eliason A- Last Week: B+ Season GPA: 3.67
The clear defensive anchor for this pressing, guard orientated team Elliott held down the paint effectively this week with nine blocks over two games, including a seven block game against Wofford. After flirting with a triple-double against Wofford (11 points, 11 boards, and 7 blocks) Elliott seems to be rolling headed into Maui. With the addition of Mo Walker coming expectations may need to be tempered a bit in terms of statistical production from EE but his impact will continue to be measured on the defensive end first, and I expect Elliott to continue to receive all the minutes he can handle. Unless Mo proves himself to much improved defensively, I expect Mo to come in as an offensive compliment in the post and may even see some minutes along with Elliot in some bigger line-ups. Getting back to Elliott’s play this week, upon catching the ball in the post this week he was making quick and aggressive moves towards the rim but could not find the necessary touch around the rim. Despite getting all the minutes he can handle now, Elliott rarely has a high volume shooting game so he’ll need to convert the few post ups that he receives.
Joey King B Last Week: B+ Season GPA 3.33
Joey ended up on the receiving the brunt of a tough friendly fire collision from Andre Hollins after only playing 13 minutes against Costal Carolina, leaving his availability for next weeks tournament up in the air. The team has not provided a clear timetable for a return but instead only saying that he will travel to Maui. Here’s to hoping that Joey can make a quick recovery because he has proven to be a very important piece of the offense in the early going.
Malik Smith C+ Last Week: B Season GPA: 2.67
This grade from here on out may just be determined on 3FG%, and shooting 31% from 3 for the week should be considered a bit below average, but Malik’s grade receives a bump because he contributed in some other areas in the closer Costal Carolina game. An absolute chucker on the court, Malik is the most straightforward player I’ve maybe ever seen. He is there to do one thing and that’s to shoot. Any other statistical production that Malik provided is gravy.
Wally Ellenson C Last Week: C+ Season GPA: 1.55
Sneaky every bit the chucker that Malik is (nine shots in 16 minutes vs. Wofford), Wally saw extended playing time this past week and seems to be more comfortable after he was held out of the opener. Having to play out of position at times, Wally is still working on his basketball instincts in terms of movement and positioning, to go along with a streaky shot. Defensively, Wally looks slow and out of position often, which has lead to, fouls in the early going (four fouls in 16 minutes against Wofford).
Mav Ahanmisi C Last Week: D+ Season GPA: 2.00
Despite my early optimism for an improved role from this Senior, right now Mav can only give this team limited minutes. Playing in relief for Little Dre mostly, Mav has not remedied his turnover and general ball handling problems from earlier in his career thus far. Seeing only three minutes in the closer Costal Carolina game, it is clear that Pitino will not be benching or even looking to rest the starting guards if at all possible which will continue to limit Mav’s role going forward.
Charles Buggs C Last Week: C Season GPA: 1.89
Not a whole lot to add here from last week as Buggs saw only nine minutes of action this week. Charles only attempted one shot and he missed looked horrific offensively, where he was expected to be more talented. On the other side of the ball however, Buggs did record two blocks and showed off his impressive length.
Daquein McNeil B Last Week: C Season GPA: 2.00
Another player with limited minutes this week, Daquein did record his first bucket as a Gopher with a nice and decisive drive to the rim in his five minutes against Wofford. His athleticism was actually impressive on that play and if injuries were to occur at the guard spot he might be able to contribute in limited minutes.