June 1, 2013
2014 Recruiting: Gophers Have Advantage Over Duke, Others
Minnesota’s new head coach Richard Pitino can offer something to 2014 recruiting targets that many other schools, including the Duke Blue Devils, cannot.
The Minnesota high school class of 2014 features the “Big Three” of Tyus Jones, Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis. In addition to pursuing those players, Richard Pitino won’t shy away from head-to-head recruiting battles with traditional basketball powerhouses.
Every recruit is different and there is no checklist that assures success in attracting a student-athlete to your program. Nonetheless, when your program has an advantage over others, you sell it.
What could Pitino and his staff use as a recruiting pitch to 2014 targets that Duke and many others cannot? It’s actually quite impressive.
“Son, pick a country. We’ll take the team on a 10-day trip. Play some basketball, see the sights and have a lot of fun. You in?”
A school’s basketball team can go on a foreign trip once every four years. Minnesota will be eligible to travel, if they wish, before the 2014 fall term begins. Three summers ago Minnesota traveled to Canada, but teams can and have gotten far more adventurous than Tubby Smith did.
Two years ago Duke played games in both China and Dubai. The team also took advantage of the trip by visiting places such as the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square and the Burj Kalifa (the tallest building in the world). The Blue Devils won’t be able to take another foreign trip until the summer of 2015.
Generally speaking (subject to certain requirements), freshmen and transfers can go along on these foreign trips. In addition to the actual trip itself, teams are allowed 10 days of practice prior to travel.
However, not all Gophers could participate next year. Rising redshirt juniors Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker both competed on the trip to Canada and thus may not participate on another foreign tour.
Nonetheless, a foreign trip next summer would be a nice way for newcomers to begin their time at Minnesota and would enable the Gophers program to differentiate itself from a number of others. It would also provide an opportunity to travel abroad for star guard Andre Hollins who will be a senior in 2014-15.