Tag Archives: gophers

Pitino Not on The “Hot Seat”; Gophers 2016-17 Outlook

Pitino Not On The “Hot Seat”; Gophers 2016-17 Outlook

Many preseason “coaches on the hot seat” articles list Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino and state that a poor season on the court would spell trouble for Pitino. We believe the only way Pitino would be on the hot seat is if there are continued off the court issues for the program’s student-athletes. There are a few reasons why we don’t see Pitino being on the hot seat absent off the court issues. Those reasons are listed below.

Large Buyout

Late last summer, Minnesota entered into an amendment with Pitino which effectively caused his buyout to skyrocket should he be fired without cause. If Minnesota were to terminate Pitino’s employment next March, the buyout would still be nearly $6 million.

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They Said It: Amy Phenix

They Said It: Amy Phenix

The Board of Regents (“Board”) effectively approved the contract extension of Richard Pitino on August 14, 2015. The Board delegated authority to the President, who delegated to his Chief of Staff, Amy Phenix. Ms. Phenix signed under the big block letters, “REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA.”

The timing of certain members of the Board voicing their concern about Pitino’s contract and their claim of a lack of a role in approving it is a topic for another day, but one which certainly is deserving of further discussion.

Now, let us move on to the topic of this article: “They Said It: Amy Phenix”

In a Star Tribune article published on March 31, 2016, Chief of Staff Amy Phenix explained, “The reality is you’re very rarely going to fire someone not for cause in year one of a contract extension,” she said. “It’s just highly unusual.

Let’s quickly explore what “the reality is.”
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Minnesota Athletics: A Leader in Debt

Minnesota Athletics: A Leader in Debt

The University of Minnesota has already scaled back its initial plans for new athletic facilities, but many are pushing for construction to begin within the next two months. The (current) initial phase is estimated to cost $150 million.

The U has reported private contributions of approximately $70 million, but much of that amount is only pledged, with agreed-upon cash payments to be made over the next decade.

It appears that the Athletic Department will need to take on more debt in order to move the project forward in the near future. So, what has the U’s debt load looked like as compared to its Big Ten peers in the past and how might things look in the future? Today, we look to answer those questions.

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Ask LNH: Can all Gopher Newcomers Play in Spain?

Ask LNH: Can all Gopher Newcomers Play in Spain?

The Minnesota Golden Gophers will travel to Spain in August for a foreign tour. Based on this year’s roster make-up, we believe this timing is optimal for the program.

Media reports and many fans say that all Gopher newcomers, including transfers who will sit out a year in residence in 2015-16, will be able to take part in practice prior to the trip and travel/play in Spain.

Thus, the question: Can all of the new Gophers really play in Spain?

The short answer is “no. ” Details can be found below…

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Minnesota’s Banham Can Return in 2015-16

Gopher star and senior guard Rachel Banham tore her ACL and is done for the year. As we’d expect, the traditional media is baffled by what this means in terms of a potential hardship waiver. Some are saying they don’t know, others are providing incorrect information.

A favorite is from Kare11.com, who says, “Players that lose more than 30% of a season due to injury can be awarded that and an extra season of play.” That’s not even close to true.

We’ll step in and help.

There are several requirements for a medical hardship waiver. The one at question – for some – is the 30% rule. A player can participate in up to 30% of a team’s games and still be eligible for a hardship waiver (and they must also meet all the other requirements, of course).

Not only are there are nuances as to what is counted as a “game” in the calculation, but the math used per the NCAA Bylaws isn’t an example you’re going to see used in the classrooms of America. Due to time constraints, we’ll explain this one fairly quickly: Minnesota has 30 regular season games scheduled. In addition, they have the Big Ten tournament.

By rule, a conference tournament counts as one game. Thus, the denominator in the calculation is 31.
31 games multiplied by 30% is 9.3 games. By NCAA rule, this is rounded up 10. That is, the maximum number of games a Gopher can play in and still be considered to meet the “no more than 30%” requirement is 10 games.

Banham has played in 10 games.

Accordingly, we see no mystery here. Based on NCAA Bylaws and the nature of the injury, Banham’s hardship waiver request would be a simple administrative task.

Had the injury occurred one game later, she would not have met the requirements. “Timing is everything.”

For those with additional questions regarding hardship waiver requirements, please email us at latenighthoops@latenighthoops.com.

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The State of the Gophers

The State of the Gophers

“How the team performs over the next two years is important, but the roster outlook – including the program’s standing with recruits – will be highly relevant in evaluating Pitino’s performance two years from now.”

The selection of Richard Pitino
Pitino is a good coach and can become a great one. Excluding long-established D-I coaches, there are few other options that we’d put on the same level as Richard Pitino who were possibilities for Minnesota when hiring leader of the men’s basketball program. It was an intelligent hire. Nothing is promised, but we like Pitino as much or more than other options.

Recruits won’t fall into his lap
Being the son of Rick Pitino has its advantages, but few if any kids will come to Richard Pitino just because of his last name. He’ll need to work hard to earn everything he gets. We believe he can eventually be highly successful in the area of recruiting, but it won’t be because of his last name.
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Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer

You know, my first year at FIU we were top ten in the country in steals. We certainly were not that last year. I think that number will go up…” – Richard Pitino at Big Ten Media Day

In fact, the Gophers had the 23rd best steal rate among 351 D-I teams (including teams transitioning in). Only Ohio State, who boasted one of the nation’s best defenses, was better among conference peers.” – LateNightHoops.com

Head coach Richard Pitino has talked about more steals as a way to improve the 2014-15 Gophers, but the Gophers aren’t likely to improve their defense much by creating more steals. Last season was already very good and the team’s top thief has graduated (Austin Hollins).
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2015 Big Jonathan Nwankwo Commits to Minnesota

2015 Big Jonathan Nwankwo Commits to Minnesota
Scholarship Table Updated

2015 C/PF Jonathan Nwankwo, 6’9″, 245 pounds, committed to the Minnesota Golden Gophers today while on his official visit.

He’s a New Yorker who plans to play this season in Florida at Victory Rock Prep. The relationship between him and the Gophers goes back more than a year. As was the case with fellow 2015 commits Dupree McBrayer and Kevin Dorsey, the pledge to Minnesota was not a surprise.

With 5th year seniors Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker finishing their careers before next summer, Nwankwo will have an opportunity to earn minutes both as a center and power forward.

He’s a big, strong kid who can help rebound and defend (so long as he keeps fouls in check) early on. How well he progresses with the ball in his hands is up to him and the staff. The potential is there to be a quality player for Pitino.

Following is an updated scholarship table:

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