Richard Pitino Lands Coveted Transfer Player and Respected Assistant Coach in Same Day

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports



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), .

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:

Nate Mason:

Reggie Lynch:

Jamir Harris:

Davonte Fitzgerald:

Ben Johnson (assistant coach):

Kimani Young (assistant coach):

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:

*Eric Curry (Played ‘16-‘17 before redshirt SO for knee injury):

Incoming Freshman:

Daniel Oturu (C – Cretin-Derham Hall):

Jarvis Omersa (F – Orono):

Gabe Kalscheur (G – DeLaSalle):

Transfers:

Payton Willis (G – Vanderbilt) (will sit 2018-19 due to transfer):

Assistant Coach 1/2:

Rob Jeter (UNLV assistant):

What’s Next???

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.

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):

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):

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.

Not only that, the insider info over at GophersIllustrated has quotes like these from site insider, Ryan James, who got this from a coach familiar with the situation:

“Brock will go to Minnesota if they really want him”.

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):

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.

Eric Strack (@RealMSF_Pres) & Johnny Minnesota (@TheJohnnyMN)
MinnesotaSportsFan.com