Sunday, August 10, 2008
Since I initially started this site with the sole intent of writing about Gopher basketball before tangenting off into several hundred different directions, I figured once in a while I should take a peak at Gopher recruiting. Now seems about right, since there is a lot to discuss.
Darius Smith: I wrote earlier this week about the Gophers offering Smith, a 6-2 point guard from Illinois, and there is a little more information available. He was called "the best defensive player in the state and one of the best leaders" at the Nike Peach Jam and is known as a very solid rebounder, ballhandler, defender, and penetrator who lacks only an outside shot to complete his game. Bradley is after him hard, as well as Marquette and DePaul. The Gophers are late to the party, but their name recognition as well as high profile head coach have got to help, but of course, the Gophers lost that one big goofy guy to DePaul already, so who knows what kind of decisions some of these geniuses are capable of making. Smith sounds a lot like an Al Nolen clone, right down to the academic issues (current gpa of 2.4, ACT score of 16), and as long as he's eligible I'll be very happy with that.
Sam Dower: Big man from Osseo who picked up an offer from Tubby early last week, Dower is a 6-9, 215 PF/C who averaged 13 points and 7 boards as a junior at Osseo last season and will be expected to take more of a scoring role with several good players graduating after last year. He currently ranks #130 on the Rivals Top 150. Obviously at 215 he needs to put on some weight and gain strength, but he has that big wingspan that allows him to block a lot of shots, and he has a very good game in the paint and from the high post. He recently narrowed his list to five schools: Gonzaga, George Mason, Minnesota, Marquette, and Cal. He's already visited GMU, and is expected to visit Minnesota and Marquette in August and Gonzaga in September. I'm not real excited here, but I suppose he's better than nothing. I think the Gophers have two schollys left for '09, and I'd rather they be used on one of the PGs and Rod Will, but it's nice to see that a consolation prize under Tubby would have been the keystone recruit under Monson. No, I'm not ready to let the Monson hate go just yet.
Johnnie Lacy: Lacy, the 5-10 PG and Rivals #97 player from Wisconsin who recently reported that the Gophers were in the lead for his services has transferred to Notre Dame Prep School, reportedly with the hopes that it will help him get eligible for his freshman season in 2009. Notre Dame Prep is in Fitchburg, MA and is kind of a basketball powerhouse. They have three players on the Rivals150 for 2008: Terrence Jennings (#19), Kim English (#112), and Melquan Boldin (#147) but for 2009 Lacy will be the only one on the list there. He should get some high quality coaching as well as being assured they will do whatever they have to in order to get him eligible. The Gophers may have cooled on Lacy a bit lately, with the offer going out to Darius Smith as well as some sudden interest in another guard I'll mention next, Eric Bledsoe.
Eric Bledsoe: No relation to Drew, I'm assuming because he's black, Bledsoe is a four-star, 6 foot PG out of Alabama who ranks #73 overall on Rivals list. His scouting reports from all around give me kind of a semi, because he's basically a true pass-first point guard which I love unless it's that homo Jacque Vaughn. Scout says he lacks a perimeter shot, but ESPN says he can shoot it from deep, so who the hell knows, but they both say he has the instincts for the position and is a lightning quick creator and that is all that matters. Speaking of Creators, there is also a christian rock singer named Erik Bledsoe, and I really hope they don't recruit him instead. But again, that was probably more of a concern with Monson in charge. Bledsoe says the hometown UAB Blazers are leading for his services, and the only school to have offered a scholarship so far, but Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, and the Gophers are also in the mix, as well as the Lord Jesus Christ.
Cory Joseph: Another PG the Gophers are looking at, this time for 2010, is the younger brother of future Gopher Devoe Joseph and could give them a Joseph to Joseph combo at the guard position, although some services describe him as more of an off guard who could play point in a pinch, much like big brother. ESPN describes him as having one of the best pure jumpshots in the class of 2010, and says he will end up being better than Devoe. If that's the case, let's go ahead and get him signed early. He ranks 75th on the Rivals 150 and will probably be moving up as his career progresses, now in the States after transferring to a Nevada Prep School, basketball factory Findlay, for his final two high school seasons. It's still early, but Joseph is getting chased by pretty much everybody, including Kansas, Texas, and Memphis.
Angelo Johnson: Interestingly, Tubby has declined to pursue the former Minnesota high school player after he announced he was transferring from USC after his freshman season due to playing time concerns. Angelo has said he will end up at either Baylor, Southern Miss, Seton Hall, or Cincinnati. Although he could certainly help out the Gophers and their point guard vacancy for 2009, Tubby remains firm that he isn't interested. A big ole difference from Dan Monson, whose bread and butter was to chase recruits he missed out on after they changed their minds and promise them if they would come to the U they could take every single shot they ever wanted ever.
Glen Rice, Jr: There was some interest in the 3-star guard out of Georgia on the Gophers part, but, like with Mfon Udofia, the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech signed him instead. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the Jackets in the coming years to see how these two clowns develop. Tech has a nice recruiting class going for 2009.
- Rodney Williams continues to dominate and continues to not sign here yet.