I'm officially committed to a University of Minnesota! Go Golphers!!!!!! #blessed
— Nate Mason (@NateMason_2) October 25, 2013
And Boom. Nate Mason Jr., a point guard out from Georgia and Maryland, committed to the Gophers Friday night, and it's a huge get for Pitino considering his burning need to secure a point guard of the future. After many painful near misses, he still ended up getting a good one.
Mason ranks as the #126 recruit according to 247sports and the #26 point guard and should be the guy to run the offense for four years. Mason chose the Gophers over Kansas State and Virginia and he also held offers from Marquette and Clemson among many others.
By all accounts Mason is lightning quick and although he plays more of a combo guard now everyone seems to believe he has the ball skills to transition to more of a pure point without a problem in college. Plus with that combo guard experience he's already learned to score and is a good jump shooter so that's always a plus. If you watch the highlight video below you'll see a kid who can already score in a whole bunch of ways and reminds me of Dre Hollins in a lot of ways. I think I'm going to like this guy a lot. Plus his nickname is "The Assassin" which is pretty sweet.
This gives the Gophers and Pitino two members of the 2014 class with Mason joining Josh Martin. The class now has a big, which was sorely needed, and a point guard, which was badly coveted, and both are highly athletic, something that's clearly a priority for Pitino. With two scholarships left to play out it will be interesting to see how the recruitment of Carlos Morris, visiting UAB this weekend, plays out. The Gophers still have a shot at both Rashad Vaughn and Reid Travis (visiting this weekend by the way), or at least so it seems, so ideally they'd fill out the final two scholarships. They're both taking their time, however, with Vaughn not planning on making a decision until Spring, so you wonder if they'd be ballsy enough to hold out that long, especially if Travis does the same.
Morris, the Juco swingman from Florida ranked as the #5 JuCo player in the country, would be a quality edition to the Gophers for 2014 and given that his twitter profile pic at one point showed him wearing a Gopher hat and that 247sports predictions have him at 100% Minnesota you have to think the Gophers have a pretty good shot at him. Would they hold him off until the figure out what's happening with Travis and especially Vaughn and risk losing him to UAB? Go ahead and sign Morris now and figure they'll deal with whatever happens down the line? Either way I'm pretty sure if Morris, Vaughn, and Travis all end up wanting to go to the U they'll find a way to fit them all in.
Right now the Gopher class is ranked 68th in the country by 247sports. It's tough to know what to make of that since it's still early enough that classes are still coming together, but since the Gophers have two more spots anyway they'll definitely rise by the time everything shakes out. And I know this - 68th may not sound that great, but it's a whole lot better than it was before tonight.
Here is THE ASSASSIN: