Richard Pitino Lands Coveted Transfer Player and Respected Assistant Coach in Same Day
When it comes to the Gophers Men’s basketball team, ya’ll know what time it is!
Minnesota’s male hoopers had high expectations as they entered 2017-18 and the program looked to be on the rise. That was until an F-5 tornado of injuries and sexual assault allegations torpedoed all of those hopes and dreams. High expectations quickly turned to program-lows that reminded all of us of a 2015-16 season that put Pitino in the record books as coaching the losingest team in the program’s history. When the Maroon and Gold’s most recent season was all said and done, it wasn’t quite 2015-16 bad. But it felt pretty damn close, as Minnesota finished with a piss-poor 4-14 record in Big Ten play (15-17 overall), .
Ugh!!! #Gophers announce that Eric Curry suffered a knee injury today and will be out for the entire season.
— GopherHole.com (@GopherHole) August 31, 2017
Minnesota’s Reggie Lynch faces suspension, campus ban over alleged sexual assault https://t.co/N2yS1qxfaJ
— SB Nation CBB (@SBNationCBB) January 5, 2018
#Gophers sophomore guard Amir Coffey is out today with a right shoulder injury. Missing second straight game and seventh this season.
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) February 3, 2018
Richard Pitino said they made a decision to sit Dupree McBrayer down as he struggled to fight through his injury. Added, “I don’t know what his status is moving forward.” #Gophers
— GopherHole.com (@GopherHole) February 7, 2018
Isn’t there a saying out there where ‘things get worse before they get better’? If not, there is now.
That “keep your head up” mindset was ideal for Richard Pitino as he traveled from the 2017 season into the 2018 offseason. In case you missed it, the 35 year-old coach has lost two of his three assistant coaches and top recruiters to other teams. Panic started to set in at that point because the reason for Ben Johnson and Kimani Young’s departure wasn’t due to a promotion or what some would call positive attrition. Most of what I was seeing around GopherIllustrated.com and elsewhere showed
program head coach instability was the reason for Pitino’s suddenly-fleeing right and left-hand men.
Not only that, but with the coaches, went some of the players. Jamir Harris and Davonte Fitzgerald bailed ship. Fitzgerald never fully recovered from his major knee injury that caused him to miss 2016-17 after sitting out a transfer year the season before. Losing Freshman, Jamir Harris, stung a bit more. Harris got a lot of playing time in his first season, mostly due to injuries to his teammates. However, it could certainly be argued that the New York native was the team’s best spot-up shooter, which is likely their weakest position.
The situation was ugly and it was getting difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But now, the light may be upon us. Richard Pitino seems to have shown his grit and “never give up” attitude with the news that is dropping currently at the assistant coach position and what we may hear about VERY SOON on the recruiting front.
But, let’s follow the old adage we spoke of earlier. ‘Things will get worse before they get better’. Let’s take a full look at all that was lost in the aftermath of the 2017-18 shit storm:
Departures from 2017-18 team:
— StribGophersBB (@StribGophersBB) May 5, 2018
— Reggie♛Lynch (@Air_Regiinald) March 31, 2018
Guard Jamir Harris will transfer from Minnesota, head coach Richard Pitino announced Friday. The 6-2 guard was a freshman this year
— Ryan James (@RyanJamesMN) April 6, 2018
Minnesota grad transfer Davonte Fitzgerald will head to Stephen F. Austin for his final season, source told ESPN. Head coach Kyle Keller recruited him out of high school.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 26, 2018
Ben Johnson (assistant coach):
New Xavier lead ass’t (and ex-#Gophers ass’t) Ben Johnson is already hard at work with the MN kids. He and head coach Travis Steele will see Roch. JM junior Matthew Hurt, DeLaSalle junior Tyrell Terry, and Minnehaha Acad. soph. Jalen Suggs this week.
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) April 17, 2018
Kimani Young (assistant coach):
UConn announces that Kimani Young will join Danny Hurley’s first staff at UConn. Big-time East Coast recruiter, who’s been at Minnesota the last few years. Great addition to an already loaded staff
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) April 4, 2018
Alright, alright…. let’s stop with the negativity and bring it back to where we sit right now. Obviously, some of these additions were on their way before all of these negative departures (outside of outgoing seniors) took place. However, when there is this much movement in a program, nothing is guaranteed. That includes any commitments made by recruits before the assistant coaches, who recruited them, leave. Not with these Minnesotan recruits.
Additions to 2018-19 team:
The Eric Curry injury hurts this year but future wise? Two years of Curry AFTER Jordan Murphy graduates is a very nice thought.
— Ryan James (@RyanJamesMN) September 1, 2017
Thank You all for the get well wishes??? I’m going to come back stronger than ever and give Gopher Nation everything I got!! ✨〽〽
— GTM DAN ??? (@oturu65) May 5, 2018
High school career ends tonight for future Gopher Jarvis Omersa. But he showed what two areas he can be impact freshman with 18 rebs and 5 blks in Orono loss to DeLaSalle. Will be one of most exciting finishers in the Big Ten next season.
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) March 16, 2018
In his final HS game today, @GopherMBB recruit Gabe Kalscheur had 29 pts, 12 rebs & 3 stls in @DeLaSalleMBB third place game win over Austin. Next jumpers for @GabrielKalsche1 will be in maroon & gold 〽? pic.twitter.com/UInBpiFy7t
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) March 24, 2018
Vanderbilt sophomore guard Payton Willis is transferring to Minnesota. Willis averaged 5.1 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He shot 34.8% from the field, 65.7% from the line and 34.9% from three-point range. 38 of his 48 field goals were three-pointers.
— Chris Monter (@collegebbnews) April 22, 2018
Assistant Coach 1/2:
Rob Jeter (UNLV assistant):
— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) April 9, 2018
Ever since Rob Jeter was hired back in early April, news on the Gopher Basketball front has been quiet. Unless you follow the Gophers like I do and have subscriptions to sites like GopherIllustrated.com where you get insider content from the best in the state everyday. Behind the scenes, Richard Pitino & Co. have been ravishing the remaining prospects available for immediate use in the 2018 season, along with those who can help beyond, while also trying to steady the ships with the remaining open Assistant Coaching job.
The #Gophers men’s basketball program is one assistant coach and two players short of a full roster after offseason changes and a turbulent April recruiting season. @Marcus_R_Fuller has details on Richard Pitino’s high-speed search to fill those gaps. https://t.co/CZT3vOsXdv pic.twitter.com/Ze2LeYu3u1
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) May 2, 2018
Well, Pitino may be VERY close to finding everything he is looking for.
Today, we are getting closer and closer to seeing an official announcement that he has found his second assistant coach and it looks like he hit his second homerun. This seems to be all but official
Kyle Lindsted (Wichita State Assistant Coach):
Richard Pitino at #Gophers coaches road trip in Cannon Falls today confirmed he’s working on hiring Wichita State’s Kyle Lindsted as his third assistant: “We’re excited about him. He’s one of the best recruiters in the country and very passionate about it.” @StribSports pic.twitter.com/OFAU21PPFd
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) May 7, 2018
Payton Willis was his first transfer and he’s a great get for Minnesota. But as mentioned above, with a slim 2018 backcourt that is already dealing with the departure of Jamir Harris, guards and shooters are needed IMMEDIATELY. Gabe Kalscheur will make an immediate impact but another big time player is needed and a grad transfer would be perfect.
Enter Brock Stull: Grad-Senior – G/F (UW-Milwaukee):
Hey Brock Stull … how ya feeling?? pic.twitter.com/3QkTjrAi80
— Milwaukee Men’s Basketball (@MKE_MBB) November 14, 2017
Stull comes from UW-Milwaukee, which is the same school Akeem Springs hailed from before coming to Minnesota as a grad-transfer. He proved to be a big difference as the team was never the same after he went down with an injury late. Brock would be another huge UW-Milwaukee get for the Gophers, as he is exactly what they are looking for. Everyone important on Twitter seems to believe the same thing.
“Brock will go to Minnesota if they really want him”.
UW-Milwaukee grad transfer guard Brock Stull is said to have visited Xavier this weekend, Minnesota visit coming up potentially next weekend
— Ryan James (@RyanJamesMN) May 6, 2018
Best case scenario for late recruiting period would be Marcus Carr and Payton Willis. Then Wisconsin-Milwaukee grad transfer Brock Stull to be a @SpringsAkeem type for one year. Stull could visit Minnesota soon.
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) May 6, 2018
There is one other transfer to look at and the likelihood he ends up in Minnesota seems to be getting higher and higher as the days go by. He was on campus this weekend and things seem to have gone really well. He would be a MASSIVE get for the Gophers. Scratch that. As I was typing this, he just committed to the Gophers. He was already averaging 10 points for a power-5 school last year… And the insiders at GopherIlustrated feel like the commitment could be getting closer and closer.:
“Things are really looking very strong now that Carr is on campus. Not sure if any others have jumped in lately but Marcus on campus is huge news.”
“I agree with Ryan here. I think Minnesota has a very good shot at getting Marcus Carr.”
“I also think it could happen in the very near future. By all account he “loved” his visit to Minnesota“
However, like Payton Willis, Carr has to sit 2018-19 out due to the current NCAA transfer rules.
Marcus Carr: Sophomore G (Pittsburgh):
Former Pittsburgh guard Marcus Carr is visiting the #Gophers right now. Sit one year play three transfer. Avg. 10 ppg and 4 apg for Pitt as freshman last season.
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) May 6, 2018
A breakdown Marcus Carr’s time at Pitt and comparison to Mason, McBrayer, and Washington as freshman + @CoachDavidSisk gives an update on Carr’s transfer recruitment and Minnesota’s competition: https://t.co/FJvCTCgWER pic.twitter.com/IN29lCI8mh
— Matt Jessen-Howard (@mjessenhoward) May 6, 2018
Now, Pitino needs to make sure he lands Stull for 2018 and before making DAMN sure he has a successful season on the court. Although things are beginning to look better than they were a month ago, those assistants still left for a reason. If Little Ricky can’t make a good impression this season, he may not be able to see these recruits blossom.
Let’s remember though; because of the recruiting he’s already done, he has some ammo to work with already.
All this talk about recruiting guards and keys for #Gophers backcourt next season is Amir Coffey and Dupree McBrayer healthy and Isaiah Washington becoming a leader. Bet @Jellyfam_Dimes was in the gym today working on his game. ?〽?
— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) May 6, 2018