The Ben Johnson steam had been building all weekend and for good reason. The 39-year-old Minnesota Gopher alum and current Xavier assistant will be named the next head basketball coach at the University of Minnesota, per Jeff Goodman (Stadium).
Minnesota will hire Xavier assistant Ben Johnson, sources told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 22, 2021
Ben Johnson is a Minnesota alum. There were several other head coaches in the equation, but AD Mark Coyle opts to go with a locak guy with strong ties to the area. https://t.co/lG7Os0mZgr— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 22, 2021
Ben Johnson checks a lot of boxes for Mark Coyle. The biggest box seems to be his DEEP ties to the local recruiting circuit, especially AAU. He’s also an african american, which has become a point of emphasis during this process, and he captained the Gopher basketball team back in the early 2000’s. Johnson’s recruiting will have to be elite as he gains experience, however, because this is the first head job that Johnson has had at the college level and the Big Ten isn’t going to take it easy on him.
He will need to be surrounded by a good staff and will have to learn parts of the job on the fly. But if Ben can get some of these 4-star (maybe even 5-star) Minnesota kids to put on the maroon and gold after graduating high school, then the doubters will shut up quickly. Talent will bring wins and support.
Ben Johnson has a lot of pre-built relationships with the stacked 2022 local class, too. Most of which have not committed yet. Grabbing a commitment or two out of there early would certainly get his ball moving in the right direction.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan