If you've been reading The Daily Gopher, and why wouldn't you, you'd know there has been a flurry of recruiting activity of note to Gopher fans lately. Of note:
- Minnesota boy Sam Dower heading to Gonzaga. Dower, a center from Osseo, is a late bloomer who recently shot up the ranks after averaging 22 points per game for in AAU ball this summer after putting up just 13 per game in high school. Gonzaga was after him early, and had the inside track. After visiting the campus, Dower made his choice. The Gophers got in the game late, and I was never optimistic Dower would sign here. Dower is currently ranked #119 on the Rivals Top 150.
- Torin Walker to Oklahoma State. Walker is another center Tubby wanted, and I'm quite a bit bummed he didn't get him, mostly because Torin Walker just sounds like a good name for a player. Walker was supposed to take a visit to the Minnesota campus, but after visiting OSU he canceled all other visits. I'm guessing he was set up with some very nice female "superfans" of the program. Take note for the upcoming Rodney Williams visit to the U please.
- Trevor Williams to Colorado State. Yet another center to spurn an offer from Tubby Smith, although for the life of me I can't figure out a single reason why anybody would want to go to Colo State. This was another case of a player having a visit scheduled to Minnesota, but opting to sign with another school following a visit there. There was a lot of chatter about Williams, and the Gophers were involved in his recruiting early so this one does sting a bit.
Not a Minnesota target, but of interest nonetheless is Hopkins' Mike Broghammer committing to Notre Dame. I'm not entirely certain why Tubby never chose to get involved in recruiting Broghammer, but I'm guessing it is because he is related to Christian Laettner, who once stomped on a Kentucky player and all the hearts of Kentucky fans. And Tubby still loves Kentucky.
Also of interest is Eden Praire's Ethan Wragge committing to Creighton last night. Wragge was never in Tubby's sights, but the a three-star instate player is still worth mentioning.
Does this all mean that Tubby is losing his touch? After the miracle class of 2008, are we sunk for 2009? No, not really. Calm down, spaz. Plenty of quality players still on the radar, particularly if Williams signs here. Other possibilities:
- PG/SG Darius Smith, #113 on Rivals. According to Scout, Smith considers the Gophers the Gophers his favorite school, and had a visit scheduled for last weekend at the U. He hasn't signed following that, which makes me nervous. I haven't heard a single peep about how the visit went, which also makes me nervous. I don't know if it actually happened or what. Expect Smith to sign with Bradley.
- PG Eric Bledsoe, #67 on Rivals. I've mentioned him before, and he is absolutely, without question my number 1 guy I want for this team for 2009, above even Rodney Williams. Everything I read about this kid gives me a boner. The problem is it's going to take a major coup to steal him away from Mike Davis and UAB. He's from Alabama, they've been recruiting him forever, he likes Davis, and he loves their running style. Odds on landing Bledsoe are around 10% or so, but if anybody can do it, Tubby can. Please.
- PG Johnnie Lacy, #110 on Rivals is also still a possibility, and has been written about here plenty. If Bledsoe doesn't work out, I'd be more than happy to get Johnnie, assuming he's eligible.
- Lastly, two Power Forwards from Georgia I've never heard of apparently have received offers from the Gophers according to Scout: Terrence Shannon and Kadeem Batts. Shannon is the superior player, coming in at #125 on Rivals while Batts is unranked. Batts is mostly being pursued by middle tier major conference teams, while Shannon has Florida State and Memphis as his leaders, with the Gophers listed as a longshot.
Grabbing any one of those guys along with Rodney to fill out the two remaining scholarships for 2009 would be an excellent, excellent class following up the #25 class of 2008 according to ESPN.
Once again, I want to say I'm absolutely convinced right now that the Gophers must get a verbal from Rodney on his official visit in a week and a half. The week after that, he is heading out to Santa Clara for a visit with his friend and Bronco commit Raymond Cowels. The fact that he narrowed his list to just two, and Santa Clara is on there instead of Kansas or UCONN tells me he's very serious about the possibility. Can't you see it? The two guys, visiting a beautiful campus in California right near the ocean. All around them are beautiful women in bikinis, the weather is nice after leaving the shitty fall weather of Minnesota. The rest of the Santa Clara team telling him how it's beautiful there all winter with no snow. Cowels talking to him about how the two of them can join together to help raise the Santa Clara program to national prominence once again.
Think about it, this is probably the most important recruit visit to that program since forever. They will pull out all the stops and roll out the red carpet to kiss his ass in a huge way. I'm telling you right now, if he doesn't sign with the Gophers during his visit and actually makes his way out to Santa Clara for that visit, he's going to sign there. I guarantee it.