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).
Continue reading Minnesota: Stealing Is Not The Answer
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:
Continue reading 2015 Big Jonathan Nwankwo Commits to Minnesota
2015 Dupree McBrayer Commits to Minnesota
The scholarship table has been updated and is included at the end of these notes. This commitment is not at all a surprise and we’ve long thought he’d wind up a Gopher. Nonetheless, McBrayer is a very good addition to the program.
- The 6’4″ lefty guard may grow a bit taller despite already being 19.
- He’s been at various high schools and needs to finalize a decision on his prep school for this year. Vermont Academy, where rising sophomore Daquein McNeil attended, is a strong possibility.
- Talented and exciting scorer. He can put on a show and wow the crowd.
- Capable of bringing the ball up the court, but figures to play off the ball on offense. Not a lot of physical strength, but his size should enable him to defend multiple positions (1, 2 and 3).
- LNH last saw him in person a few weeks ago in Vegas where he played with New Heights. Gopher assistant Kimani Young was the director of the New Heights organization and a consistent spectator at McBrayer’s games.
- Dupree was impressive when viewed live. However, he had at least 2 years on most of the competition. How much did he benefit from the age advantage is a relevant question.
- Minnesota will now have two big guards/wings who are aggressive scorers in Zach Lofton and Dupree McBrayer. The 2015-16 Gophers will be able to unleash a mean attack on opposing defenses.
8/26/14 edit: Not a surprise, but Gaston Diedhiou is not expected to join the program this fall. Based on the roster makeup we do not see this as a significant issue. The scholarship table below includes Diedhiou, but most likely he will never join the program. Thus, the Gophers still have 3 “open slots” for new scholarship players in 2015 after the McBrayer commit.
Continue reading 2015 Dupree McBrayer Commits to Minnesota; ’14 Diedhiou out
The U Adds Kevin Dorsey; Scholarship Table Updated
2015 guard Kevin Dorsey committed to the University of Minnesota. He’s a nice addition with work to do offensively, but with the speed that Pitino and staff should put to good use defensively.
The updated scholarship table is as follows:
VCU Shows Minnesota How to Build a Practice Facility
March 22, 2014
In the past we have brought up the inaccurate claims that were on Minnesota AD Norwood Teague’s bio, specifically around a new basketball practice facility at VCU. Teague came to the Twin Cities from VCU and was touted as a big time fundraiser. Many believed (and still do) that he had constructed a basketball practice facility in Richmond, but he had only suggested a facility be built for around $10 million with private funds. That amount quickly grew to an estimated $14.5 million.
Fast forward to earlier this month and finally real plans have been set in motion for the Rams basketball program. The plans now look quite a bit different than they did in 2011:
- The project’s estimated cost has risen to $25 million. VCU says a significant factor in the increase is that when new AD Ed McLaughlin arrived in 2012, he determined the current plans wouldn’t work from a Title IX perspective. A new, larger location that could better accommodate both the men and women was needed.
- Private funding wasn’t going to get the job done. The school announced they would reallocate student fees to help pay for the project. There has been clamoring from some students, but after another strong season (until last night’s loss) support for VCU basketball is very high.
- Per review of a draft of the Executive Committee’s minutes from earlier this month, VCU’s board has approved entering into a line of credit agreement to front the money needed for construction. This should enable the project to get started (shovels in the ground) this spring, with completion possible before the start of classes in fall 2015.
Last summer Norwood Teague announced his idea of a $190 million facilities plan for the University of Minnesota. We found the idea to be borderline absurd [See: Minnesota’s Facilities Plan Set Up For Failure – July 10, 2013] and still do. Things have been quiet since last summer, but we understand a “fundraising feasibility study” has been “wrapping up”.
Continue reading VCU Shows Minnesota How to Build a Practice Facility
Andre Hollins on Offense
December 18, 2013
Dre Hollins hasn’t shot the ball particularly well over the past five games, but don’t be too concerned. He’ll be just fine.
Since the Syracuse game in Maui, Dre’s eFG% is just 41.2%. However he’s done other things on the floor to help the team’s offense. For example, against Florida State he missed all six of his 2FGA’s, but got to the line 16 times. Hosting South Dakota State, Dre was 3/11 from the field (31.8% eFG), but dished out a season-high 8 assists.
It’s easy to remember the 41-point Memphis game last season, but the fact is he had his share of rough outings a year ago – even more so than this year. The following chart shows Dre’s 6 worst nonconference offensive rating performances over the past two seasons:
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2013-14 Big Ten Preseason
We see teams 7 through 10 as being very close to one another. One win could mean the difference between the 10th and 7th place.
The Gophers are slotted at the top of the group thanks in large part to them returning 2 of the Big Ten’s top 3 returning offensive players. Junior Andre Hollins and criminally underrated senior Austin Hollins are difference makers that can win games for this team.
Continue reading #7 Minnesota – Team & Player Previews
August 10, 2013
ESPN Writer: Dre Hollins & Up Tempo Offense is Laughable
On August 9, 2013, ESPN writer Eamonn Brennan said, “The problem (both [sic] for Hollins and the Gophers was turnovers, and until Hollins reigns those in, the thought of him leading an up-tempo secondary break is more laughable than exciting.”
Brennan was referring to Minnesota’s junior point guard Andre Hollins. No Big Ten player returning this season had a higher Offensive Value Add than Dre in 2012-13.
Continue reading ESPN Writer: Dre Hollins & Up Tempo Offense is Laughable