After their first week of video games, the Gophers males’s basketball crew appears to be like to subject a roster stuffed with depth and flexibility, one thing final yr’s predominantly younger crew lacked.
In week certainly one of Massive Ten basketball, the Gophers defeated Bethune-Cookman College and the College of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).
Different important moments throughout the Massive Ten embrace James Madison College defeating No. 4 Michigan State on Monday and Florida Gulf Coast giving Indiana a run for his or her cash, shedding by simply six factors.
Head coach Ben Johnson stated he likes to level out these cases within the Massive Ten to his crew to show his level that constructing a crew is a course of.
“Anyone can beat anyone, particularly early within the yr when groups are nonetheless determining their id,” Johnson stated.
The Gophers will meet Florida Gulf Coast on their dwelling court docket on Dec. 9.
Minnesota goes by way of the method of constructing a mixture of youthful and older expertise. Dawson Garcia, after main the crew with 23 factors, stated this yr’s crew has proven quite a lot of potential in that regard.
The Gophers’ 27-point lead within the second half rapidly fell to a 12-point lead when guard Damani McEntire hit a jumper from the paint for Betune-Cookman. They have been in a position to convey their result in 20 earlier than ending out the sport, one thing Garcia stated final yr’s crew “was not doing.”
“Coach can maintain individuals accountable but when the gamers are doing it, then you could have an opportunity to be particular,” Garcia stated.
Johnson has recruited a mixture of older and youthful gamers. Presently, the roster has three true freshmen, with two extra coming subsequent season, and 4 gamers with 4 or extra years of expertise.
Cam Christie, one of many Gophers freshmen, made his collegiate debut towards UTSA Friday after sitting out of the primary recreation resulting from an sickness. Christie put up 18 factors, went 4 for six from the three-point line and had three rebounds.
“It was undoubtedly tough to overlook the scrimmage and the primary few video games however my teammates did a great job of conserving me included,” Christie stated.
Christie stated when adjusting to the tempo of faculty basketball, he would look to his junior teammate Elijah Hawkins to assist him modify, which made his transition from highschool to school simpler.
Discovering a steadiness between recruiting giant highschool courses and smaller courses from yr to yr is some extent Johnson made when discussing constructing a program in keeping with his recruiting philosophy. As soon as he has a longtime program, Johnson stated he wish to have an older crew.
“To have the ability to keep outdated and have a few youthful guys that would develop inside your program,” Johnson stated. “That might be a bonus to us.”
Johnson added that relying on what his roster appears to be like like within the spring, he plans to make use of the switch portal and can possible not return to recruiting out of excessive colleges.
Issac Asuma, a guard out of Cherry Excessive College, and Grayson Grove, a ahead out of Alexandria Excessive College, signed Nationwide Letters of Intent on Wednesday and can be part of the Gophers in 2024.
Johnson stated Asuma is a guard who matches his model of play “to a T.”
“He’s acquired a bit of little bit of Mike Mitchell to him, how Mike’s acquired that burst,” Johnson stated. “He’s simply acquired that blue-collar, soccer participant mentality.”
Grove, nevertheless, is “bouncy” and “can run the ground.” Johnson credit Grove’s power to his expertise taking part in soccer in highschool.
Each Asuma and Grove are multi-sport athletes, however they won’t be the one ones with expertise in multiple sport on the Gophers roster subsequent season.
Graduate switch Jack Wilson performed in 25 profession soccer video games at Washington State College. Wilson stated he thinks his expertise taking part in soccer helped give him the athletic potential to play basketball for the Gophers.
“I’m going up towards a man like Pharell Payne each day,” Wilson stated. “You’ve acquired to have some explosiveness to maintain up with him.”