Friday, October 12, 2007

Gopher Recruiting Roundup

Van Coleman of Hoopmasters posts a nice Big Ten Recruiting Roundup with a lot of info on every team. I'll concentrate on the Gophers here, as some names are thrown out that I haven't heard before:

Minnesota (Recruiting Log) has been making a late charge of late and now has three commitments this fall. They are led by two potential junior college All-Americans in 6-foot-8 power forward Paul Carter from Missouri State-West Plains CC and 6-foot-5 220-pound win scorer Devron Bostick of Southwestern Illinois CC. Both have the tools and physical attributes to compete for starting spots in the Big Ten. They are joined by one of the summer's fastest risers in 6-foot-10 big man Colton Iverson from Yankton, S.D. He has potential to be an All-League player before he leaves Minneapolis.

But, the Gophers aren't done yet. They could sign a couple more this fall with size and backcourt firepower targets they are recruiting. Upfront, they are hard on two fall targets, and very interested in a third. The two fall targets are 6-foot-11 Ralph Sampson Jr. from Northview (Duluth, Ga.) visited the Gophers in September and has visited Georgia Tech, too. He will head to Kentucky this weekend. 6-foot-8 Josh Crittle from Elmhurst Timothy Christian just visited the Gophers on October 6th, he has also visited Oregon, Kansas State, and Southern Illinois. A decision should come soon. They will have 6-foot-8 230-pound Jarrod Jones from Michigan City, Ind., on campus this coming weekend. The other big man on their radar is 6-foot-10 Stephen Goins from Chicago Curie who is also getting looks from DePaul, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Valparaiso, and West Virginia.

In the backcourt, the Gophers still have interest in 6-foot-5 shooter Scottie Haralson from Provine (Jackson, Miss.) who visited the weekend of October 6th. He is also considering UAB, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Penn State, and Mississippi. Others they like are 6-foot-3 point Verdell Jones from Central (Champaign, Ill.), 6-foot-4 Devoe Joseph from Pickering (Ajax, Ontario), Travis Leslie, a 6-foot-5 wing from Columbia (Decatur, Ga.), and 6-foot-3 Kendall Durant who is prepping at New Hampton (N.H.) School.

Coleman mentions that the Gophers have the ability to end up with the conferences top recruiting class, and getting two of these guys listed above would help do that.

In the front court, Sampson would be a great grab, with Crittle or Goins being a good consolation prize as both are three stars.

Backcourt, I'm still hoping for Joseph, although Haralson is intriguing too. Anytime a player is described as "a shooter" it gets me very excited. Leslie is more highly regarded than Haralson, but he's also a very different player - more in the slasher mold than a pure shooter. The best player for this team may actually be Verdell Jones, a true point guard, which may be the biggest need on this team if Al Nolen doesn't work out, a 50/50 proposition. I haven't heard of Durant, but he's a three star at Scout. I'd rather have Kevin Durant.

Offers are currently out to Sampson, Crittle, Joseph, Jones. Get two of these players, or Haralson, Leslie or Goins, and the Gopher have a shot at top class in the Big Ten for 2008, and the best Minnesota class since Clem.

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