Gopher PG’s Do Battle in Scrimmage; Future Shines Bright on Floor and in Crowd

I didn’t make it to The Barn last night to watch the Maroon vs Gold scrimmage, where the Gopher Men’s Basketball team was split up and pitted against each-other for a few thousand fans, who wanted to watch some Sunday night basketball. Lucky for myself and most who’ll read this, we had some dedicated media personnel on-site to give us the breakdown. We definitely missed out.

From all accounts, it was a battle of the point guards. Nate Mason as the grizzled veteran Senior, who made the All-B1G Team last year. Isaiah Washington as the incoming freshman who was highly touted out of high school and is all but guaranteed Mason’s role (and probably more eventually) when Nate leaves. Isaiah Washington isn’t just any incoming freshman, though. Most have already heard of Washington’s “jelly” finger-roll and the following that came with it in “Jellyfam”. A following that was so big (400,000 on Isaiah’s Instagram alone), Nike couldn’t resist (they later noted the Jelly branding was for Paul George, not Washington….lol… see below for pictures). That’s not all though. Washington has the game to back up the hype. He was ranked in the national top 75 of most college recruiting sites. He dropped 20 points last night which was 2nd behind only Nate Mason.

Isaiah Washington is legit and will be fun to watch as he gets older. Watching him learn from Nate this year will be fun as well. Pitino has quietly built one of the youngest, most talented rosters in the NCAA. Last year was only the beginning and this year is just an early stepping stone. Pitino has his best class yet coming in next season (2018 – see tweet below), which will bolster their front court for the foreseeable future. There’s still 1 scholarship left too… All three 2018 commits are hometown kids and were in attendance last night next to some other local, highly touted 2019 – 2020 recruits. One 2019 recruit in-particular…

As good as the 2018 class is, 2019 could be even better. Rochester, MN is housing one of the best college basketball recruits in the country and multiple recruiting sites have him projected to stay home, easily making him the best recruit the Gophers have ever had… and his brother already plays here. Matthew Hurt is a phenom and has offers from every staple team (Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, UNC). If Hurt stays home, we will be national title favorites in 2019 and as long as he stays in college. If Richard Pitino can keep Matthew Hurt in Minnesota and bring this team to a Final Four…. maybe even a title… we are talking street names, baby names, statues, banners, etc. Legend FOREVER.

The future for Gopher Basketball is so bright. Add Matthew Hurt… it could be blinding.

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Eric Strack
Minnesota Sports Fan
MinnesotaSportsFan.com @RealMNSportsFan

Sources: 247 Sports, Star Tribune, Isaiah Washington Social Media, NBC Sports

Photo: JERRY HOLT – STAR TRIBUNE