Gopher Basketball Optimism High; Transfer Marcus Carr Expects to be Eligible for 2018

2017 - University of Minnesota Gopher Men Basketball hosts Western Carolina -- PHOTO: Christopher Mitchell /

2017 – University of Minnesota Gopher Men Basketball hosts Western Carolina
— PHOTO: Christopher Mitchell /

Sunday, before the Gophers took the court to scrimmage each other in their annual Maroon and Gold Scrimmage, Coach Richard Pitino dropped a quiet nuclear bomb to the media:

Also, this happened on Sunday morning and could attribute to Pitino’s confidence on the subject:

Up until yesterday, before the in-team scrimmage, news on Marcus Carr’s transfer waiver request (which would allow Carr to play immediately in 2018 instead of having to sit for a season due to NCAA transfer rules) was quieter than Jimmy Bulter’s conscience. We had only heard that Pitino was continually waiting for the NCAA to get back to him on the request… WTF, are you Justin Bieber applying for work in the real-world job market? Seriously, what’s taking so long? The season starts in a little over a week

While Richard is still waiting for the NCAA to return his call, it’s very promising to see that they’re expecting the waiver to be granted. That’s a big fucking deal. It means less reliance on Isaiah Washington to be your only natural point guard and more freedom to play Dupree McBrayer and Amir Coffey wherever you think they will be most effective, depending on the opponent. Carr is a combo guard who is very comfortable running the one. He showed as much when he started for Pitt last year as a Freshman and averaged 4 assists per game to go with his 10 points.

If you haven’t followed Marcus then you probably don’t know how good he is. Watch this video and you’ll see why this is such a big deal. The kid can shoot from deep and can finish at the basket. He’s comfortable with the ball in his hand but can catch and shoot too. He looks DEADLY on the pick and roll… he’s only a Sophomore.

Carr actually makes the PG position, which is currently the biggest worry going into the season with Isaiah’s disappointing Freshman season looming large, a plus position. No matter Washington’s performance last year, he’s undeniably talented and you add Marcus to a mix that also includes Amir Coffey… It gives Pitino a lot of options depending on the size he wants on the floor.

Notes on Sunday’s Maroon and Gold Scrimmage:

It seems the biggest team take away from yesterday’s annual scrimmage is that the offense looks really good and the defense is behind the 8-ball. Of course, it’s difficult to judge until they start seeing real opponents because this team is stacked with offensive talent. Is the defense really that far behind or is the offense just that good. With established scorers like Amir Coffey, Jordan Murphy, and Dupree McBrayer the offense is really legit on paper. And, that’s not to mention all of the additions we’re yet to see.

Amir Coffey Running the Point:

Obviously, when/if Carr gets his waiver, that will greatly impact the amount of time Amir Coffey will spend at the one. However, with the currently eligible roster, Pitino has made it clear that he REALLY likes Amir running the offense. And from all accounts, he’s looked great there both Sunday and in their closed scrimmage a couple of weeks ago vs Creighton. Looking ahead to a possible NBA career for the former Hopkins standout, showing the ability to handle the ball as a 6-8 point guard would have to be salivating for pro scouts.

New Faces Impressing:

There will be a lot of new faces that contribute to this team in 2018-19. There are 3 Minnesota Freshman who we should see a decent amount from. Daniel Oturu was the highest rated recruit of the class and hails from Cretin Durham Hall. He’s going to be hard to keep off of the floor. He’s a force on defense and brings a pretty polished offensive tool-belt too.

Gabe Kalscheur, out of DeLaSalle High School was brought in to snipe 3’s and play really good defense. This team needs both badly. Jarvis Omersa, from Orono, will see some time too and will be exciting while he’s in. He’s the best athlete to where the M since Rodney Williams and it won’t be long before he hits the SportsCenter Top-10.

However, it’s looking like Matz Stockman (who was just some unfiled paperwork away from transferring this offseason) may make a bigger impact than expected. With a team that’s young in the front-court, they will need the Senior big man to bring consistency off of the bench. He brought it Sunday, scoring 16 points which was good for a tie with Jordan Murphy for 3rd highest on the team.

We haven’t even mentioned Eric Curry who has already proven he can be a stud, after playing huge minutes in 2016 as a Freshman, before tearing his ACL before the start of 2017 and using a medical redshirt to recover. However, he didn’t play in the scrimmage because of swelling in that knee. As you saw in the Pitino video at the top of this post, the coach doesn’t seem worried…. so I’ll try not to be either.


Dupree McBrayer was also absent from Sunday’s events due to a family emergency.

Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan

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