Tag Archives: minnesota

Regents Cry Foul, But Should They? Pitino Buyout and More

Regents Cry Foul, But Should They?

Who’s responsible for approving the Pitino extension that multiplied his buyout by more than two times, to more than $8 million?

The answer is extremely important to the story, and the mainstream media should do the work to report on it.

Ultimately, this falls on the Board of Regents and the President’s office, but the details are important.

In March 2016, certain Regents became vocal and expressed frustration over Pitino’s large buyout (which at that time had amortized to just over $7 million). Some called for more oversight and ability to approve significant contracts.

The reality, however, is that they already had the ability to do so. The Pitino contract situation illustrates the Board of Regents and President’s office not working well together.

This week a resolution will be brought forth that specifies the process on certain contracts (e.g., Board approval required for any initial appointment where an employee’s annual salary will exceed $250,000 or any employment agreement, or amendment thereto, that has at total cost to the University of $600,000 or more.)

However, in the case of Pitino and the other contracts amended in reaction to the very public and shameful resignation of Norwood Teague, the Board should have been brought into the process under existing policy. Continue reading Regents Cry Foul, But Should They? Pitino Buyout and More

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

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.”
Continue reading They Said It: Amy Phenix

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

#7 Minnesota – Team & Player Previews

#7 Minnesota
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

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Minnesota’s 3FGA/FGA Percentage to Rise Significantly in 2013-14

August 5, 2013
Minnesota’s 3FGA/FGA Percentage to Rise Significantly in 2013-14

We expect the Gophers will attempt 3-point field goals more often during 2013-14 than in any season over the past decade. The two primary reasons for this expectation are: (1) Minnesota’s 3FGA/FGA percentage has historically been low and (2) the team’s roster will rely heavily on players who often utilize the 3-pointer. Those reasons sound simple, but it’s important to differentiate the real reasons from a basic “it’s because of Coach Pitino” argument.
Continue reading Minnesota’s 3FGA/FGA Percentage to Rise Significantly in 2013-14

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Recruiting: 2015 PG Jarvis Johnson

July 12, 2013
Recruiting: 2015 PG Jarvis Johnson

Marquette University’s Buzz Williams was one of many coaches watching Howard Pulley beat the Travelers 90-78 in Peach Jam play this morning.

Playing alongside 2014 phenom Tyus Jones, rising junior guard Jarvis Johnson (DeLaSalle HS, Minneapolis, Minn.) took on a scoring role with 22 points on 7/11 shooting and didn’t turn the ball over in 28 minutes played. Johnson knocked down 4 of his 5 3-point attempts, bringing his effective field goal percent for the game to 81.8%.
Continue reading Recruiting: 2015 PG Jarvis Johnson

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Game Preview: Gophers vs. Tennessee State 11/15/12

Tennessee State Tigers at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Thursday, November 15, 2012 | 7pm CT | TV/Online: ESPN3

Tennessee State comes to Minneapolis with a record of 0-2, having lost on the road to BYU and South Dakota State. The Tigers were picked to finish second in the East division of the Ohio Valley behind conference newcomer Belmont. Murray State and their returning star Isaiah Cannon were the top pick on the West side of the conference.

The Gophers will not have the only NBA prospects on the floor at Williams Arena Thursday night. Tennessee State’s versatile senior forward Robert Covington was superb last year and has continued to progress during his three seasons in Nashville.

Head coach Travis Williams took over for John Cooper who left for the top job at Miami (OH) in April. Williams worked as an assistant under Cooper for the past three seasons and takes over for a team that returns four starters and has a roster with a lot of Chicagoland talent.

Minnesota comes into the game 2-0 after winning their first two by a combined 62 points. It’s difficult to be critical of their play after two dominant performances, but there are areas that need improvement.

Minnesota turned the ball over 19 times against Toledo, including 12 turnovers from starting guards Andre Hollins (4) and Joe Coleman (8). Giving up the ball has been an issue for the Gophers in recent years, but they’ll try to buck that trend against a Tiger defense that is good at creating turnovers.

Another area Tubby Smith’s team will try to address is allowing their opponents to earn trips to the line. Both American and Toledo were given 23 free throw attempts.

If Covington gets loose for 30 points, which is possible, Tennessee State could make a game of this one. More likely, however, the Gophers cruise to 3-0.

Below you’ll find a PLAYERS TO WATCH section highlighting specific Tigers. For additional information on the Gophers and Big Ten basketball, go to LateNightHoops.com.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

#33 Robert Covington (17.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg in 2011-12) is a long and versatile 6’9” senior forward from the Chicago area and a threat from anywhere on the floor, with or without the ball. He’s a great shooter, defender and rebounder who is a cut above anyone Minnesota has seen so far this season.

Covington was very efficient with the ball a year ago and shot extremely well both inside the arc (57.0%) and behind it (65/145 for 44.8%). Defending Covington will be a nice test for Rodney Williams and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see these two going up against each other again next July in the NBA’s summer league.

Strong point guard #2 Patrick Miller (10.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.6 apg) stands 6’1”, 189 pounds and has been credited with a total of 19 assists in the Tigers’ first two games.   Prior to this year, Miller has shot infrequently and poorly from 3-point range (41/139 for 29.5%; 2.2 3FA/game), but has taken 9 attempts behind the arc already this year and made 3.

Miller is a better scorer when he gets close to the bucket and is a fairly strong guard who does draw contact. Minnesota would prefer the junior to continue shooting out on the perimeter as compared to him dishing to Covington or other open Tigers.

#1 Kellen Thornton (9.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg) played at Hillcrest (Ill.) and Brewster Academy (N.H.) in high school and began his college days at Illinois State. Now a senior and a big 6’8”, 243 pounds, Thornton is another good scoring option and a solid rebounder.

Others to mention:

  • Senior guard #45 Jordan Cyphers (8.0 ppg; 36.4% 3FG) started out at Utah before transferring two years ago.  He’ll likely come off the bench looking to fire away from long range.
  • #3 Kharon Butcher (1.9 ppg) is another reserve who is willing to try from 3-point range. He only went 8/28 3FG for 28.6% as a freshman, but he can hit from outside.
  • Redshirt sophomore #4 M.J. Rhett (3.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has added size to his 6’8” frame and helps inside with rebounding.


Minnesota Golden Gophers Nike Vault Maroon Legacy91 Retro Logo Swoosh Flex Hat

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Game Preview: Gophers vs. Toledo 11/12/12

 

Toledo Rockets at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Monday, November 12, 2012 | 7pm CT | TV/Online: Gopher All Access (Online)

Toledo scored the final 10 points Friday night at Loyola Chicago, but the run only made the scoreboard look a little bit better in a 62-50 loss.

This season the Rockets are playing for pride and with only one senior, the future. Due to APR scores from academic years prior to current head coach Tod Kowalczyk’s arrival, the team is banned from NCAA postseason play.  Nonetheless, they are picked to win the MAC’s west division this year (it’s fair to note that half of the division’s teams are directional schools in Michigan).

Kowlacyzk, a Minnesota-Duluth alumnus (1989), is in his third year at Toledo after eight years as head coach at Wisconsin-Green Bay. Previous stops include an assistant coaching stint at Marquette while Dwyane Wade was at the school.

Despite being a small team that will play three guards most of the night, Toledo won’t be an especially heavy 3-point shooting team this year. However, just about everyone on the floor is willing to take advantage of an open look if it’s there.

Minnesota will look to come out and frustrate the Rockets early and often as they did to American Friday night. On paper, Toledo is not as good as American and this looks like the Gophers’ second easiest game on the schedule (Lafayette on December 22 takes the honors).

The Gophers were excellent in their season opening 72-36 victory over American. It’s difficult to critique such a dominating performance, but two areas Minnesota will want to improve on against Toledo are limiting the Rockets’ free throw attempts and second chances.

Below you’ll find a PLAYERS TO WATCH section highlighting specific Rockets and an OTHER NOTES section that touches on miscellaneous items of interest. For additional information on Gopher and Big Ten basketball, go to LateNightHoops.com.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Running the point is sophomore #20 Julius Brown (11.9 ppg, 4.9 apg) from the fine Chicagoland high school Hillcrest. “Juice” Brown was the MAC’s freshman of the year and posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.6 to 1, but he’s undersized and will likely face a lot of pressure from the Gophers.

#5 Rian Pearson (16.4 ppg, 8.3 rpg)  a 6’4” junior guard, followed Kowalczyk from UWGB and can rebound and score inside despite his size. Pearson isn’t much of a 3-point threat (8/31 for 25.8% in 2011-12), but he’ll try his best to take on Minnesota’s defenders in the paint. A test for the Gophers will be keeping him (and Brown) off the line.

Another guard expected to start is former Iowa State Cyclone (yes, they also have transfers out of that program) #1 Dominique Buckley (9.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg), a solid 6’2” senior. He’s a career 40.4% 3-point shooter and is the guy the Gophers should be most concerned about from deep.

Others to mention:

  • Freshman center #53 Nathan Boothe is a big kid at 6’9”, 250 pounds. Can hit an outside shot. As the only Rocket with much size, the hope for Toledo is that he’ll stay out of early foul trouble. We don’t think that will be easy for him to do, however.
  • #32 Reese Holliday (7.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg) will likely come off the bench, but get 20+ minutes. Just 6’4”, had to play inside a lot last year, but should play more on the wing with Boothe’s arrival. In addition to an impressive defensive rebounding percentage , Holliday shot well in 2011-12.
  • Sliding over to power forward from center is #43 Matt Smith (8.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg), another UWGB transfer. Smith shot the ball well last year, but at 6’7” and only 225 pounds, he’ll struggle defending inside.

OTHER NOTES

  • Gophers forward Oto Osenieks was recruited by coach Kowalczyk at both UWGB and Toledo.
  • American’s 26.3% effective field goal percentage Friday night was the lowest Minnesota has held an opponent in any game this century (beginning with the 2000-01 season), per Late Night Hoops research.
  • The announced attendance of 10,172 for Minnesota’s home opener was 1,804 or 15% less than last year’s. Also, the attendance for Friday’s opener was the smallest Williams Arena crowd for any regular season game in the Tubby Smith era.
  • Tremendous ticket deals are available at www.GopherSports.com including $10 tickets and $15 packages that include a ticket and $5 concession voucher.
  • J.D. Weatherspoon transferred to Toledo from Ohio State and expects to be eligible to play for two years beginning in 2013-14. Weatherspoon starred at Northland (OH) high school with fellow 2010 graduate Jared Sullinger and their younger point guard Trey Burke.
Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

2012-13 Player Previews: Minnesota Golden Gophers

This article is available in PDF format. Bookmarks are included to facilitate navigation: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD: 2012-13 Player Previews: Minnesota Gophers

High-level player previews and season expectation for each scholarship student-athlete on Minnesota’s 2012-13 roster are included below. Players are listed in one of three sections: Point Guards, Bigs or Wings.

This year’s team has enough experience and skill to produce Tubby Smith’s best year since he’s been in the Twin Cities. However, whereas most have described the team as having great depth, we believe there are currently 8 players that belong in the regular rotation.

At the end of this article, we offer our preferred lineups (although we fully expect the Minnesota coaching staff to use the bench far more).

POINT GUARDS

Andre Hollins

6’1”, 200 | Sophomore
21.1 mpg, 8.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg

Dre is the team’s best go-to scorer as he’s able to score in various ways. He gets nice elevation on his jump shot and is accurate out to well past the 3-point arc. In addition, Hollins can put the ball on the floor and get to the rim. We expect he’ll finish stronger and more consistently as a sophomore.

Last year, Dre made just 40.5% of his 2-point attempts (team average was 50.6%) and that must improve. Another area for improvement is reducing turnovers (26% turnover rate). Hollins had just 0.85 assists for each turnover.

As he’s entering his second year at Minnesota, Dre’s profile including last season’s numbers point to an impressive sophomore year. The obvious growth in confidence that Hollins exhibited late last season will carry over well.

Expectations: 11-14 ppg; improved A/T ratio; eFG% increase of 2.5%+; under-90% FT%.

Julian Welch
6’3”, 195 | Senior
24.7 mpg, 9.5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.9 apg

Welch is an excellent spot up shooter and can hit from mid-range off the dribble. He fought through injuries last year and was still one of the biggest contributors to the team. The Gophers can’t afford to have him sitting on the bench too often. We believe he should play the role of backup point guard, but also get time alongside Dre Hollins as shooting guard. Very important player and  underrated by most.

Expectations: 8-12 ppg; lower 3FG% due to high comparison (43.8%); lower TO Rate by 3-5%.

Maverick Ahanmisi
6’2”, 192 | Junior
13.3 mpg, 2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.6 apg

Despite some limitations, Ahanmisi does play with a lot of heart. We’d have him as a fill in option should Andre Hollins or Julian Welch go down, but suspect that Tubby Smith will play him for 10 minutes or so in most games.

In seven career starts against Big Ten teams, Ahanmisi doesn’t have a win and has gone just 9/40 (22.5%) from the field. His turnover rate improved as a sophomore, but it’s still far too high and although he can knock down an open triple, he finished the year below 30% in each of his first two seasons.

He does provide Minnesota with an experienced point guard option should they run into injury problems.

Expectations: 2-4 ppg

BIGS

Trevor Mbakwe
6’8″, 245 | Senior
28.7 mpg, 14.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg

Mbakwe is coming off an ACL injury and it could be awhile before he’s feeling completely comfortable on the floor, but even at 80% he’s be better than most guys at 100%. Absolutely ferocious on the boards, we expect he’ll again be one of the best rebounders in the conference.

Thanks to his long wingspan and athleticism, Trevor can handle playing center for Minnesota, but with Elliot Eliason and Mo Walker also available he may find most of his time at power forward. We’d like to see what Mbakwe and Rodney Williams can do along with three guards on floor, but a question coming into the season is how often Tubby Smith will utilize such a lineup.

Regardless of where he plays, Mbakwe should be on the court as much as he’s able to be. He’s a game changer and leader on the floor.

Expectations:  11-14 ppg, 9-11 rpg

Elliot Eliason
6’11”, 260 | Sophomore
15.1 mpg, 2.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg

He’ll never be known for being graceful, but Eliason’s size is enough to get him minutes. He put together superb rebounding numbers last year and this fall looks much stronger and even a bit taller. When Eliason and Mbakwe are in the lineup together, the Gophers should be able to keep the number of second chances for the opposition lower than last season.

Two areas where Elliot must improve are turnovers and fouling. We believe these will still be issues for him in 2012-13, but less so than last year.

Expectations: 4-5 ppg, 5-7 rpg

Maurice Walker
6’10”, 289 | Sophomore
Redshirted in 2011-12

Big Mo’s freshman year ended in December 2010 due to a PCL injury. He’s ready for action this year and provides a different look at center than Eliason. Walker is an immense presence who can bang down low and secure rebounds despite a lack of lift.

His touch is very good for someone his size and he could turn into a nice scoring option for Minnesota. If Mo can stay healthy and get his conditioning up, he’s a difference maker. Really nice potential and could be excellent on the offensive glass, but probably a year away.

Expectations: Anywhere from 4-8 ppg and he should produce a couple of standout games.

Andre Ingram
6’7″, 213 | Senior
8.8 mpg, 1.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg

Ingram transferred in from Butler Community College (Kan.) before last season and provided some solid minutes off the bench late in the year. He’s got a history of injuries that may continue to nag, but is a strong and tough interior player with good athletic ability.

He’ll be called upon to help off the bench and provides another option should one of the other bigs go down. His job will be to defend, rebound and take care of the ball when it’s in his hands.

Expectations: 2 ppg

WINGS

Oto Osenieks
6’8”, 205 | Sophomore
11.1 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Oto was needed inside last year and will probably be called upon to play a couple of different roles this season. He was brought into the program as a perimeter threat, but was stuck inside much of last year. He gave a good effort on defense, but ideally we’d have him playing out on the wing on both sides of the court.

Osenieks turned the ball over a lot last year and shot just 11/41 (26.8%) from 3-point range and 16/34 (47.1%) from the line. We attribute these poor numbers largely to inexperience and nerves. While he’s still not looking consistently comfortable on the floor this fall, he’s a very good shooter.

With the lack of proven 3-point shooters this Gopher team has, getting Osenieks some experience and opportunities to build his confidence before the Big Ten season begins could help down the stretch. Oto needs to be confident in his shot and good things will happen.

While we see him as a reserve player at this point in time, he’ll probably get a fair amount of floor time to prove himself from Tubby Smith. Osenieks is capable of having a game where he knocks down 4 or 5 3-point shots and keys a victory for Minnesota.

Expectations: Anywhere from 3 to 7 ppg; dramatic increases to his 3FG and FT percentages.

Rodney Williams
6’7”, 200 | Senior
31.9 mpg, 12.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.4 bpg

Williams took a big leap forward as a junior, but he can’t let up. He needs to consistently produce and fully embrace a simple fact: he’s an incredible basketball player.

When he’s in a groove and playing with confidence, Rodney is a special player. Sure, he has his faults: his perimeter shooting is not strong and free throws are a source of frustration. However, his size and athleticism is such that he can be a star without taking 3-point shots and making only 60% of his free throws.

Potentially playing with both Mbakwe and one of the two big centers in the lineup also on the court, the coaching staff needs to find ways to keep Rodney involved in the offense.

As a junior, Williams played more minutes than he did during his freshman and sophomore years combined. While his handles aren’t great, we believe as a senior he’ll be able to create off the dribble a bit more and is capable of putting together an all-conference season if he can keep the fire going strong all year.

Expectations: 11 to 15 ppg and more recognition of his defensive play. The national folks know Rodney can dunk with the best of them, but this year he should further prove his value on defense. We project his offensive efficiency to go slightly down, but his overall Value Add to increase.

Austin Hollins
6’4”, 185 | Junior
28.4 mpg, 9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Austin was terrific overall last year, but must be consistent. On defense he uses his length well and on offense he shot the ball with high accuracy, including 51/138 (37.0%) on 3-point attempts. Hollins and Julian Welch were easily the most valuable players on last year’s team after Rodney Williams.

Austin’s usage rate was under 18% and in another year as a senior he’ll need to increase that figure based on how the roster currently projects. This year as a junior, usage of 17-19% is fine as long as he is knocking down the deep ball at a percentage as good as, or better than, last year’s.

We’d like to see better consistency and a little more aggressiveness from Austin this year. He’s not the flashiest player, but he can make teams pay if they don’t respect his athleticism.

Expectations: 10 to 12 ppg; team leader in 3-pointers made

Joe Coleman
6’4”, 200 | Sophomore
18.8 mpg, 5.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Joe is an aggressive attacker that can find his way to the rim and draws a lot of contact. Coleman was a strong kid coming into the program a year ago, but is even bigger this year. He’s fearless when taking the ball inside and that’s exactly what the Gophers need him to do.

His perimeter shooting is not good and this season it’s not needed. He’ll want to continue developing his outside shot, but in games this season Minnesota needs Coleman to concentrate where he excels – attacking the basket.

If he capitalizes on offensive opportunities when they’re there, but doesn’t push things when they’re not, this can be a very nice year for the sophomore.

Expectations: 7 to 9 ppg; Top 15 in conference free throw rate

Charles Buggs
6’8”, 198 | Freshman

Buggs may find himself playing inside more often than out, but offensively he’s a face up guy with good range. He’s ridiculously long and quite athletic; an intriguing prospect.

We think it will take some time for Charles to catch up defensively at this level, but if the Gophers need him to play, his length may help mitigate him being out of position.

Buggs looks like a versatile 3/4 that can run well, score and defend multiple positions. Give him a little time, though.

Expectations: 3 to 5 ppg

Wally Ellenson
6’4”, 200 | Freshman

Ellenson possesses amazing leaping abilities and a strong work ethic. While he can impress with his dunks, Ellenson can also heat up from the outside with a nice shooting stroke.

Wally suffered a broken hand in practice and is likely out until sometime in December. It’s possible the Gophers would look to keep him out of action for the entire season in order to preserve a year of eligibility, but if they need minutes off the bench from a tough energy guy who can shoot, he’ll be ready to go.

Expectations: Dependent on recovery and rehabilitation from injury.

Late Night Hoops’ Preferred Lineups:

LINEUP 1 LINEUP 2
Andre Hollins Andre Hollins
Julian Welch or Joe Coleman Austin Hollins
Austin Hollins Rodney Williams
Rodney Williams Trevor Mbakwe
Trevor Mbakwe Elliot Eliason or Mo Walker
SUBS: Julian Welch or Joe Coleman, Elliot Eliason and Mo Walker SUBS: Julian Welch, Joe Coleman and Elliot Eliason or Mo Walker

In lineup 1, Welch provides a third 3-point threat and another ball handler, whereas Joe Coleman provides an attacking guard.

In lineup 2, the benefits of Eliason vs. Walker need to be compared relative to the opposition.

Sharing Options:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail