Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gophers of the Tubby Era Countdown: #16-#20

Throughout the summer I'll be writing up each of the 34 players who played for the University of Minnesota under Tubby Smith.  Why Tubby?  Because it's the most recent era that's over.  If this goes well perhaps I'll go back and do Monson as well.  I'll be looking at any player who played at Minnesota under Tubby at some point, even if it was just a year.  And I will be considering their entire Gopher career, so guys who started under Monson or finished under Pitino will have their whole career considered, but anyone who transferred in or out is only evaluated on their Gopher stats.  With me?  Here we go:

#34 to #31 can be found here.
#26-#30 can be found here.
#21-#25 are here

#20.  MAVERICK AHANMISI (2010-2014).
-  Stuck around all four years, which is a positive, but never really developed into a third string point guard.  Probably took more heat than anyone on this list, but you can't blame him too much because he basically got forced into more playing time than he had the talent to play.  He did see his playing time dwindle from 13.3 minutes per game in his sophomore year to 10.5 as a junior and 9.6 as a senior.  He ended his career shooting under 40% from the floor and with a 1.1 to 0.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.  He was a late spring desperation signing and he generally played like it.  But at least he tried and wasn't a whiner.

#19.  JOE COLEMAN (2011-2013).
-  He was a pretty important piece on Tubby's last two teams before transferring to St. Mary's when Richard Pitino came in despite having a game that would thrive in his system.  He never developed an outside shot, but he excelled at getting to the rim and finding ways to score despite standing just 6-4.  His amazing 29 point outburst at Illinois showed his potential, but he wasn't able to harness that consistently and now he's off to the Gaels.  He played in one game last season before an injury knocked him out for the year.

#18.  JAMAL ABU SHAMALA (2005-2009).
-  One of the harder players to rank.  He wasn't very good, but he played four years and had his moments, generally behind the 3-point line because he basically didn't do anything else.  It was a special moment whenever he found himself with an open three and you just didn't care if it went in because if he was in the game when it mattered it was when the Gophers were terrible and if he was in when they were decent the game was probably out of hand already.  Completely unfair to him, but for whatever reason he represents the failure of the Monson/Molinari years to me.  Probably because he was actually starting at one point when things were pretty much completely off the rails.  Now I can appreciate who he was, at pretty much right in the middle of this countdown seems about right.

#17.  COLTON IVERSON (2008-2011).
-  If you had to make a poster for guys who never developed under Tubby Smith, it would have to be a pretty big poster.  But if you wanted to narrow down to two guys, Iverson is one of them.  He was a so so post player for the Gophers, but once he transferred to Colorado State he turned into a monster who got himself drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft.  Don't remember he became a monster because he played in a smaller conference way out west?  Well he averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds a game his senior year.  Those are amazing numbers.  Could he have put that up in the Big Ten?  Most likely not, but it's clear he was underutilized his three years as a Gopher.

#16.  DEVOE JOSEPH (2008-2011).
-  One of the most disappointing players of the era for me, I really thought Joseph was going to be a lights out scorer.  There were times where he looked so good, but he and Tubby clearly didn't get along, both on the court (Joseph could get lost out there at times) and off (weed).  Then, 8 games into his junior year he bolted after being suspended twice for an undisclosed reason (weed), apparently complaining about not getting enough playing time and shot attempts which was ridiculous.  Al Nolen would get hurt later that season, which would have given Joseph all the playing time he could handle.  By then he was already at Oregon, and, rather than sit out a full year to maximize his playing time, he joined the ducks for the second semester of the 2011-2012 year, which meant that in his final two years he played a grand total of just 36 games.  Yeah, he ended up developing into that scorer I thought he would (averaged 16.7 points per game), but a series of poor decisions cost him a lot.

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