Johnson, Gophers Reel in JUCO Sharpshooter with Four Years to Play

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The going’s been tough early for new Minnesota Gophers men’s head basketball coach, Ben Johnson. But, he’s hoping the tide is starting to turn. After grabbing some front court depth yesterday, Johnson has received another commitment tonight from one-year JUCO standout guard, Abdoulaye Thiam.

Thiam is an off-ball sharpshooter who played last season at Indian River State College (JUCO) in Florida. Obviously, the competition is quite a bit different than what he’ll see in the Big Ten but, with four years to play, that’s no different than any high school kid with the same amount of eligibility.

At 6’3″ and 175 lbs, Abdoulaye also has good size for a guard. And I don’t care what level you’re playing at, his stats are impressive and so are his highlights. He racked up the (JUCO) accolades too, which is what you want/expect from an athlete with power-5 D1 capabilities. As a Freshman, Thiam averaged over 15 points per game and shot 56% from the field and 48% from 3PT.

Just like all of you, tonight is the first time I’ve heard or read the name Abdoulaye Thiam but, in the minimal research I’ve been able to put in (everything you see in this blog), he has me very intrigued. Hopefully Ben Johnson has pulled a diamond from the JUCO rough. He needs it.

Rough start…

New Gopher head coach, Ben Johnson, came in with guns blazing and promises flying. Since then, unfortunately, the fireworks have been extinguished. Thanks to an overly sensitive U of M compliance department, his assistant coach hiring process took way too long and he couldn’t hold last year’s team together in the process.

The new wild wild west transfer portal has taken way more talent from Ben Johnson than it’s given and we’ve been left with a depleted roster plump with former “group of five” standouts. That doesn’t yet mean the team is doomed for next year but, on paper, the wins would appear scarce right now.

Ben has time to land some impact transfers but that hour-glass is going to need turned over pretty soon.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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