Monday, February 17, 2014

Gopher Hoops 2014 Recruiting Update

With all the hoopla surrounding not getting any of Minnesota's Big 3 for 2014 plus the season in full swing, recruiting for 2014 seems to have taken a back seat.  The Gophers, however, still have a scholarship for 2014, and may end up with more than just the one given college basketball players proclivity for transferring out and what not [EDIT: and right on cue, news breaks that Wally Ellenson is leaving the team to concentrate on track.  Good move for the kid, and won't change anything for the Gophers other than giving them another open scholarship for next season. I'm happy].  Currently there are four names to pay attention to, and I'm going to touch on each of them briefly.

6-6 SF Djuan Piper, Washington.  Piper is the #188 player in the class according to 247sports (the #43 small forward) and the #26 SF by ESPN.  Piper sounds like he's basically narrowed his list to just the Gophers and his hometown Huskies, and visited Minnesota to attend the Indiana game.  He had nothing but glowing things to say about his visit, calling the game "probably the craziest game I've ever attended" which can only be a positive.  Piper is your typical hyper athletic wing who excels in a wide open transition game, and his size and ability point to him having the potential to be a defensive stopper in college.  He still has plans to visit Washington, Gonzaga, and Texas A&M and by many accounts the Huskies are going to be tough to beat for his services, but based on his reaction to the visit here he is actually at 60% to be a Gopher on 247sports crystal ball.

6-5 SF Kobe Eubanks, Florida.  Eubanks is the #191 player in the class at 247 (#45 SF) and the #23 shooting guard by ESPN (SF, SG whatever, he's a wing).  Eubanks is a pure scorer, both driving to the rim and with an excellent outside shot.   From what I've read Piper is the better all around prospect and may have more overall potential, but Eubanks is already the kind of player who can score at the college level and I'd be thrilled to get either of them.  Eubanks recruitment sounds like it is wide open right now with Pitt in the lead, so the Gophers have their work cut out for them but they're solidly in the mix.  Interesting how there are a handful of Shaquille's in college ball, and now we have a Kobe.  We can't be too many years from an influx of Lebrons.

6-9 PF Abdoulaye Gueye, Alabama.  Gueye is ranked #284 overall by 247sports and the #76 PF, and I can't find him at ESPN and they kind of suck with recruiting info anyway.  I can't find a scouting report on him but based on what I recall reading in the past he's a bit of a project, but a solid athlete with good size who could be a good fit in Pitino's system eventually.  He visited Minnesota at the same time Piper was here and took in the Indiana game so that can only help.  247's crystal ball has him at 80% Gophers with UAB the main competition and Auburn and involved as well.  To be honest, Gueye would be a consolation prize among the four guys I'm talking about.

7-2 Anas Osama Mahmoud, Florida.  Mahmound ranks as the #162 player in the class by 247, and the #14 center, while ESPN puts him as their 69th overall player in the class and #9 center.  Mahmoud is a recent import from Egypt, and he's absolutely burst onto the recruiting scene late here with teams like Louisville and Florida involved.  Simply put, he's kind of a big deal.  Despite being 7-2 he only weights 190 or 205, depending on which site you look at, but by all accounts despite being newish to basketball he's extremely skilled with great defensive instincts, a decent perimeter game, and good passing ability.  He would be a huge get. Louisville already has three big men signed for 2014, including their own 7-2 import from I think the Netherlands, so there are some theories out there that the elder Pitino is steering Mahmoud to his son.  No clue on that one, but Mahmoud is visiting the U this week so hopefully the younger Pitino can lock him down (also just visited Georgia Tech).  This would be a huge, huge get for the Gophers.  Pun not intended but I kind of like so we're gonna run with it.

Those are really the only four names circulating, so the Gophers should probably get at least one of them or hope a grad transfer or something decides the Gophers are cool, otherwise I guess we're banking a scholarship.  For my money, I'd rank them Mahmoud, Piper, Eubanks, Gueye, and I'd love to get two and then just figure it out from there. 

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