Basketball season gets closer and closer and Sunday afternoon (doors open at 3:30 at The Barn) will be the first chance for many to see the 2014-2015 Golden Gophers. Rather than the time-wasting and excruciating “contests” of the various incarnations of the Tubby Tip-offs, like last year we should be treated to a scrimmage that actually resembles basketball. While we probably won’t learn too much about this season’s team, there are certainly a few things to watch.
What sort of combo guard is Nate Mason?
Nate Mason is a combo guard (this is good remember) but no one quite knows what his role will be. Will primarily handle the ball? Will he be a shooter? Richard Pitino has placed the freshman on Andre Hollins’ team for tomorrow, which would suggest that he’ll be the primary ball handler. It could also mean, of course, that Andre Hollins will handle the ball when teamed up with Mason. We find out more tomorrow.
Was Pitino serious about Konate at power forward?
On Sunday Bakary Konate will be on same team as Elliott Eliason and Josh Martin. That’s three big men with only two spots on the floor, so Konate will have to play with one of them, and Martin won’t play the entire scrimmage. We’ll probably see some twin towers (Konate and Eliason are both 6’11”), but how much, and how well will it work?
Will Deandre Mathieu or Squirrel Morris attempt a three-pointer?
Ideally, there will always be three shooters on the floor. Andre Hollins and Joey King will let it fly, but the identity of a third shooter, who can keep passing lanes open and keep the defense from cheating towards the lane, is still elusive. We know Mathieu can, but doesn’t shoot, and right now we don’t know if Morris can or will shoot.
Will the wait for Zach Lofton feel like forever?
The Gophers do have a shooter on the roster, who might even qualify as a chucker. The Illinois State transfer averaged 5.5 three-point attempts last season. He’ll be sitting out this season, and is slated to replace Andre Hollins next season. The scrimmage will be our only taste of Lofton for a year. Will we wish he is eligible right away, or will we be glad he has a year to learn some shot selection?
Is Joey King bigger? Is Daquein McNeil better?
Consider this the “what did you do on your summer vacation?” question. Every year we hear about changes that took place over the summer. Occasionally these rumors are true (Mo Walker did lose a bunch of weight) and sometimes not (Blake Hoffarber never became a great ball handler). We’ve been told King is bigger and McNeil is better. Are they? And who changed without anyone noticing?