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latenighthoops@latenighthoops.com @LateNightHoops LateNightHoops.com

Minnesota Returns One of the Best Shooters Among Big Ten Point Guards

After considering the statistics below, which player do you think had a better season – A or B?

2011-12 Player Comparison

Player A

Player B

Games started

21

21

Offensive Rating

106.1

99.2

2-pt FG%

48.9%

40.5%

3-pt FG%

43.8%

37.9%

REB / 40 min

4.0

3.9

AST / 40 min

4.7

3.4

TO / 40 min

3.7

4.0

STL / 40 min

1.7

1.6

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • Player A made more shots in fewer attempts than Player B when shooting 2-point field goals.
  • Player A also made more shots in fewer attempts than Player B when shooting 3-point field goals.
  • Each player turned the ball over and secured rebounds at approximately the same rates.

Andre Hollins had a fine freshman campaign and his progression over the course of the season could be seen.  He’ll be much improved as a sophomore and looks to be a key piece of Minnesota basketball for the next few years.

However, as a freshman his 2-point field goal percentage was the worst of all Gophers (excluding walk-ons), he had a turnover rate of about 26% and was prone to picking up bad fouls.  These are areas that often improve significantly between a player’s first and second years and Dre projects to be very good.

Although Hollins did average 15.0 ppg in the Gophers’ NIT run, his effective field goal percentage was only 47.4% and the young guard turned the ball over at an average of 5.0 per 40 minutes (25% higher than his average for the full season).  Also, it’s fair to note that in the NIT Minnesota didn’t face any teams in the top 50 for defensive efficiency until Stanford (19th).  To be sure, the confidence is there and things will come together for Andre, but in 2011-12 the Gophers’ best point guard was Julian Welch (Player A).

People will remember some late game missed free throws from Welch, but he was a fine 78% from the line overall.  If anything more than coincidence, misses in crunch time are mostly mental and fans should do what Julian needs to do whenever he’s at the line – forget about the past.  It’s just another free throw.

The junior guard from California proved to be capable of hitting key shots on many occasions.  Just a sample:

  • With 5:38 to play against Michigan in the Big Ten Tourney, his 3-pointer put Minnesota up 49-45.  25 seconds later, he buried another trey to make it 52-45 in favor of the Gophers.
  • In overtime against Northwestern, Julian connected from deep to break a 62-62 tie and the Gophers never gave the lead back.
  • With less than three minutes on the clock and down by 5, Welch’s 3-pointer made the score 55-53 Michigan in a regular season contest.  Less than a minute later, another long range basket cut the lead to 57-56.
  • At Illinois, his 3-point baskets late in the second half tied the game up at 54 and 57, respectively.
  • Down by 5 with 4:36 to play, Welch nailed a triple to reduce Indiana State’s lead to 2 points.  A minute later, his layup would give Minnesota a 63-62 lead and his 4/4 free throw shooting in the last 1:23 of the game sealed the victory for the Gophers.

Welch started and ended the season playing through injury, but even after his first three games as a Gopher in which he shot just 2/9 from the field, had 4 assists and 8 turnovers, he put together a solid 2011-12 campaign.  His 56.1 eFG% was so good that it will be difficult to duplicate (to compare, Andre Hollins had a 48.2 eFG% and in 2010-11 senior Blake Hoffarber shot 53.5%), but if he can cut down on turnovers and not take a huge step back shooting the ball, the 5th year senior will be a valuable part of the team once again.

The time is now for sophomore Andre Hollins, but there’s no reason why he and Julian Welch can’t play together.  No matter who carries the ball up the court, you’ve then got two ballhandlers that are threats from 3-point range.  While Julian adds in a nifty mid-range game, Andre has the ability to get all the way to the bucket.  Combine those two with Austin Hollins and the defense has to worry about three deep ball threats who can attack at multiple levels.  Not bad.  Add in an all-conference talent down low in Trevor Mbakwe along with an athletic Rodney Williams cutting toward the hoop and opponents are going to have their hands full.

Match ups and a number of other variables will dictate who plays with who, but don’t forget about Julian Welch as a potential difference maker for the 2012-13 Golden Gophers.  No matter where you see Welch fitting in with next year’s team, he deserves a lot of credit for a solid first year at Minnesota.

The table below is not meant to be an exhaustive list of everyone who played point guard in the Big Ten, but it does help to illustrate where the Gophers’ guards stacked up against their peers.

B1G Point Guards – Effective Field Goal Percentage in 2011-12

Player

Team

eFG%

Jordan Hulls

Indiana

63.0%

Julian Welch

Minnesota

56.1%

Aaron Craft

Ohio State

55.0%

Trey Burke

Michigan

50.2%

Dave Sobolewski

Northwestern

50.0%

Andre Hollins

Minnesota

48.2%

Jordan Taylor

Wisconsin

48.1%

Lewis Jackson

Purdue

47.1%

Keith Appling

Michigan State

46.6%

Tim Frazier

Penn State

44.6%

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Minnesota Star Forward Returns to Miami Court

Minnesota Gopher Star Forward Returns To Miami Court
October 17, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – University of Minnesota basketball star Trevor Mbakwe was required to make a personal appearance in a Miami court this morning.  The sixth year senior was there to answer to a probation violation after a felony warrant was issued earlier this month.

Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez confirmed that during today’s appearance a probation violation hearing was set for this Friday, October 19, 2012. Per Ms. Chavez, it will be up to the court to sentence him after the hearing on Friday.

According to Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith last Friday, Trevor Mbakwe is “lucky to still be around here.”  Smith’s comments were in response to questions about a July driving under the influence (DUI) arrest and subsequent conviction in September after LateNightHoops.com broke the story early Friday afternoon.

However, it did not appear Friday that Smith knew the status of the Miami felony case. Per @NadineBabu’s Twitter while Ms. Babu was at the team’s media day, “Tubby said he doesn’t know if this DUI has anything to do with violating probation, ask his lawyer.”

In February of this year, Mbakwe was found guilty of second degree felony battery in Miami related to an attack on a young woman in April, 2009. This summer’s DUI in Minnesota was a violation of probation in that felony case.

The DUI also represented a probation violation related to a harassment conviction late in 2011.

While the respective courts have handed down punishments for the DUI conviction and harassment probation violation already, far more serious penalties could be forthcoming this Friday in Florida.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved
LateNightHoops.com

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Edina’s Graham Woodward to Big Ten

Graham Woodward
Woodward scores a bucket at the adidas Super 64 (photo credit: adidas)

Minnesota Pump N Run and Edina (MN) high school point guard Graham Woodward has committed to Penn State. The 2013 floor general would have attracted more early attention from high majors if he were taller, but eventually many schools decided they couldn’t help but take interest in the under-six-foot guard after a strong summer.

LateNightHoops was in Las Vegas in July and witnessed an impressive run to the final four of the adidas Super 64 by Woodward’s Minnesota Pump N Run 17U squad. 2014 F Reid Travis is the more well known name on that team (and rightfully so), but in several games during the tournament it was clearly Woodward who led the way.

Woodward is a true point guard who combines a solid all around game and a strong court IQ with a incredible effort and grit. Capable passer and scorer, his game continues to develop.  He’s small, but has skills and smarts.  There is no doubt that the effort will be there.

Penn State will graduate do-it-all point guard Tim Frazier after the 2012-13 season, but the Nittany Lions expects to sign both Woodward and combo guard Geno Thorpe next month during the early signing period.

PSU sophomore forward Ross Travis, who was recently included in an article about Minnesota players ready to make a mark in D1 basketball this year, played against Woodward in high school.  During the 2010-11 season, Travis and his Chaska team beat Edina twice, including a 82-51 victory to end Edina’s season in the sectional playoffs.  Travis scored 28 in that contest and 25 in the teams’ previous match up.

Graham Woodward highlights from HardwoodElite.com:

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Minnesota Basketball Players Leading Teams Across The Nation in 2012-13

Alec Brown
Alec Brown of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The state of Minnesota continues to produce impressive basketball talent, including those who stay home and play for the Gophers. However, with so many skilled players and some excellent high school and AAU programs, there are numerous student-athletes from the state that join Division I programs across the country.

In 2012-13, a number of Minnesotans will be difference makers at their respective schools. Today, we highlight several players who look primed to take sizable steps forward in their collegiate careers.

Marshall Bjorklund, North Dakota State
Junior, Forward
2011-12: 26.2 mpg, 11.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg

Not recognized nationally or in Minnesota as much as is probably warranted. Extremely efficient offensive player who shot 67.1% FG% last year.  Bjorklund doesn’t turn the ball over and is a very good on the offensive boards  Tough, solid interior guy.  The Gophers will host NDSU on December 11.

Alec Brown, UW-Green Bay
Junior, Center
2011-12: 31.3 mpg, 13.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 89 blk

Now a veteran at UWGB, he’ll need to lead a UWGB team that should be much improved compared to last year’s 15-15 team.  His game should continue to expand under third-year head coach Brian Wardle (Marquette, 2001).  It’s a huge year for both Brown and Wardle and one in which both of them are capable of earning national recognition.  With his skills and a bit more bulk, Brown could find himself on NBA draft boards.

Sam Dower, Gonzaga
Junior, Center/Forward
2011-12: 18.1 mpg, 8.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg

Quietly very productive off the bench last year, he’ll look to prove just how good he can be in 2012-13. Zags center Robert Sacre was drafted by the Lakers this summer, giving Dower a great opportunity to impress.

Carlos Emory, Oregon
Senior, Forward
2011-12: 17.9 mpg, 6.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg

High-flying 6’6” forward played his first year of D1 basketball last year at Oregon with Gopher transfer Devoe Joseph.  Emory is a big time athlete that will regularly make the highlight reel.

Ross Travis, Penn State
Sophomore, Forward
2011-12: 17.9 mpg, 4.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg

With Tim Frazier on the team and transfer D.J. Newbill now eligible, Travis may not see his offensive usage go up tremendously, but he’ll be improved as a sophomore and should have a strong career at PSU.  Minnesota plays Penn State in Minneapolis on either March 2 or 3 (date to be determined).

Jonah Travis, Harvard
Sophomore, Forward
2011-12: 6.5 mpg, 2.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg

With an always impressive motor and significant added strength, it’s only a matter of time before Jonah shines at Harvard.

Shelby Moats, Vanderbilt
Sophomore, Forward
2011-12: 4.1 mpg, 0.5 ppg, 0.9 rpg

Moats didn’t see much playing time on a highly talented and senior-heavy team last year, but will be called upon often this year.

Kevin Noreen, West Virginia
Sophomore, Forward
2011-12: 12.0 mpg, 2.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Received a medical hardship waiver for 2010-11 season and played just 23 games last year before breaking an ankle.  Noreen can be a prolific scorer and a match up problem for opponents at 6’10”.

In addition to the names above, there are returning players that look to build on their past success at the Division I level and may already have a bit more name recognition with followers of college basketball than those players listed above:

Mike Muscala, Bucknell, Sr, F/C: 17.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg. Muscala has impressed every year, but was superb as a junior. A strong senior season for the Bison could help his chances of reaching the NBA.

Nate Wolters, South Dakota St., Sr, G: 21.2 ppg, 5.9 apg, 5.1 rpg. Wolters is an ultra-productive point guard with good size. Some NBA teams will want to consider him next summer. Wolters & SDSU visit Williams Arena on December 4.

Trent Lockett, Marquette, Sr, G: 13.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg (with Arizona State). Big guard could be a difference maker in Milwaukee.

Jared Berggren, Wisconsin, Sr, F/C: 10.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg. Versatile 6’10” big man looks to build on solid 2011-12 performance.  The Gophers play at Wisconsin January 26 and host the Badgers on February 14.

Mike Bruesewitz, Wisconsin, Sr, F: 5.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg. Bruesewitz is a high-energy worker who may increase his offensive production now that fellow Minnesotan Jordan Taylor has graduated.

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Mbakwe May Face Additional Punishment in Miami Felony Case

MINNEAPOLIS — According to Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith, Trevor Mbakwe is “lucky to still be around here.”  Smith’s comments were in response to questions about a DUI arrest this summer.

The DUI arrest triggered probation violations in two other criminal cases, one of which could cause Mbakwe to miss time.

Mbakwe was found guilty of second degree felony battery in Miami this past February and now faces the possibility of additional penalties in that case.

LateNightHoops.com spoke on Friday with Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez who said that Mbakwe “is scheduled to personally appear in our Court to answer to the violation” next Wednesday, October 17.

Ms. Chavez also said that her office did not have an offer to resolve the matter, so it is doubtful that Mbakwe will take a plea on Wednesday.  Therefore, the State Attorney’s Office anticipates that on Wednesday the case will probably have a future date set for a probation violation hearing.

The DUI arrest was made on July 1, 2012 and Mbakwe, 23, pled guilty on September 10, but the university had not disclosed the matter publicly until questions arose after LateNightHoops.com broke the story early Friday afternoon.

Since Mbakwe suffered a season-ending knee injury last winter, he has been found guilty in three separate criminal cases.

Coach Smith did say Mbakwe was initially suspended from all team activities when the DUI incident occurred, but he is now being allowed to participate.  The senior forward took part in the team’s scrimmage Friday night and was moving around well in his first action since undergoing ACL surgery late last December.

Copyright 2012 | PAA, Inc. | All Rights Reserved

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2014 Josh Perkins

2014 Josh Perkins
6’2″ Point Guard

8/24/13: Committed to Gonzaga.

LNH Notes: Aggressive, high-level of confidence and attitude on the court. May not mesh well with some programs (don’t really see him as a Minnesota type of guy) as compared to others (UCLA, for example) but would probably enjoy UCLA for example. The “right fit” will be especially important here. Excellent passer who demonstrates skill and creativity; fierce competitor; wants the ball in his hands.
+ Has played high school ball in Colorado and travel team competition with the Colorado Miners
+ Father is the coach of his Colorado Miners 17U team
+ Plans to attend Huntington Prep (W.Va.) for the 2013-14 school year
+ June 2013 rankings: 24, 18, 28 (average 23.3) per ESPN/Scout/Rivals. We believe the average ranking of ~23 is just about right.
+ Has said he will announce his decision on August 25, 2013 and there is much talk of he and Rashad Vaughn going to college together. We wouldn’t bank on either of those two things coming to fruition.
+ LNH has seen in person.

ESPN / Scout / Rivals

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2014 Sandy Cohen

2014 Sandy Cohen
6’5″ Guard

LNH Notes: Long, slim guard with a versatile skill set. Could help at point guard, but we view him as more of a wing who can handle and pass the ball in college. Defensively he should be able to cover a variety of assignments. Solid player in a lot of areas.
+ Nike EYBL: Played for Wisconsin Playground Elite with Rashad Vaughn
+ June 2013 rankings: 70, 90 , 93 (average = 84.3) per ESPN/Scout/Rivals. We think a borderline top 100 ranking is reasonable.
+ Rose to fame with a big weekend in EYBL, highlighted by a heavily watched Howard Pulley vs Playground Elite game in which Cohen scored a season-high 24 points.
+ LNH has seen in person.

ESPN / Scout / Rivals

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2014 Tyus Jones

2014 Tyus Jones
6’1 PG

LNH Notes: Gifted passer and all around basketball player who makes everyone around him better. Smart, skilled and tough player. Although he’s received praise for years and is held in extremely high regard, Tyus may prove to be even better than many realize. Exceptional talent. Legit.

+ Nike EYBL: Plays for Howard Pulley.
+ 2013 EYBL regular season: Averaged 22.8 ppg, 62.6% eFG%, 88.8% FT, 56.6 FTRate, 2.8:1 assist to turnover ratio, 2.7 spg.
+ June 2013 rankings: 3, 2, 2 (average = 2.3) per ESPN/Scout/Rivals. 
+ Rose to fame with a big weekend in EYBL, highlighted by a heavily watched Howard Pulley vs Playground Elite game in which Cohen scored a season-high 24 points.
+ Has starred in the USA Basketball program. Expresses strong interest to attend college with USA Basketball teammate and 2014 center Jahlil Okafor.
+ LNH has seen in person.

ESPN / Scout / Rivals
6/12/13 – ESPN: Tyus Jones – life of a big time recruit
6/1/13 – Gophers have a recruiting advantage over Duke, others
5/13/13 – Tyus Jones Not Being Very Nice
3/31/13 –Tyus Jones Named 2012-13 Minnesota Gatorade POY 

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