Before Dan McHale joined Richard Pitino’s coaching staff, he was an assistant at Seton Hall. The Pirates were in a similar position to the Golden Gophers. They were a high- major program, but usually not the first choice for high-major recruits. Necessity being the mother of invention, the Pirates sought recruits in nontraditional places, especially the Canarias Basketball Academy (CBA). The Gophers are following that same strategy.
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 doppelgangers.
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 seasonon.
Minnesota, and attrition, finally won out. Josh Martin has verbally committed to the Golden Gophers, and plans to suit up starting in the 2014-2015 season. On a roster nearly devoid of non-centers and non-guards, the 6’8″ 230 pound power forward fills a position of need for Richard Pitino. Martin chose the Gophers over the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Florida State Seminoles.
Thursday will be another day to monitor twitter closely. Lourawls “Tum Tum” Nairn will be announcing his college choice. Even though he would be the perfect point guard for Richard Pitino’s system, a fan favorite, and a hero the over 50 crowd (what a name!) things aren’t looking good, as Down With Goldy points out in agonizing detail.
There is an old joke, though not a particularly funny one, in which someone asks “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” obviously seeking directions to the actual music venue. The answer is the punchline “Practice, practice, practice.” If someone asked Richard Pitino for directions to the Final Four, he would have two answers, “recruiting, recruiting, recruiting” or the alternative, “Go everywhere!.”
Never in my blogging career has an offseason been so full of things happening. Recent summers for the Gophers have consisted mainly of transfers from guys we only sort of care about, schedule updates and the occasional arrest. This offseason, however, is completely different. With a new coach in tow, a crazy recruiting class on the horizon, guys transferring in and out, and a new facilities plan recently unveiled, the dog days are certainly full of relevant basketball news. Instead of covering the happenings one…
The good folks over at Gopher247 asked me to provide my predictions for the Richard Pitino. Little do they know that the future will prove me incredibly accurate. Without much else going on in the world of Golden Gophers basketball, I obliged. My predictions are below. You can check out their contributors’ likely more accurate predictions here. Yes, we are likely all too optimistic, but go easy on us. We’ll all have plenty of chances for doom and gloom should the opportunity arise.
Dre Mathieu, a 5’8″ -5’11″ (could someone measure this kid, please) junior college point-guard out of Knoxville, Tennessee will be joining the Golden Gophers for the 2013-2014 season. He will have two seasons of eligibility. Despite a successful high school career which landed him on the all-state team, his lack of height scared away all Division I scholarship offers. A successful junior college season, one in which he scored 16.1 points per game and added six assists, and 6 rebounds, was enough to get him several scholarship offers and now a spot on the Gophers roster.
In his final few years at the helm of the Golden Gophers basketball team, Tubby Smith looked tired. Maybe he was beaten down by the endless string of bad luck, or simply resigned to his fate. He rarely looked like someone who enjoyed his job, and that played no small part in fans no longer enjoying how Tubby Smith did his job. Richard Pitino was billed as the opposite. He was supposed to be tireless, both on and off the court, and he has proven that in his first month on the job, especially on the recruiting trail.
During his whirlwind first month with the Gophers, which coincided with the April evaluation period, Coach Pitino has maintained a feverish travel schedule, offering several elite players in the 2014 class. While the Big Three of Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn, and Reid Travis will still be priorities, they will not be the only options. It is not a coincidence that many of the players offered recently play the same positions of the Big Three. With the possibility of five open scholarships for the class of 2014, there would still be space for additional players even if all of the Big Three did commit.