Richard Pitino and the Minnesota Gophers basketball team received a commitment this afternoon from 2021 Kansas big man, Kenny Pohto. He’s the second commit of the class, the other being Minnesota boy, Treyton Thompson.
The 6’9″ Pohto already weighs 210 pounds as a high school Senior. Originally from Sweden, he arrived at Sunrise Christian Academy (KS) as a 16-year-old and dreaming of an opportunity like this one. Pitino actually tried to snag two commitments out of Sunrise for 2021, but missed on (5-star) Kendall Brown, who’s now committed Baylor.
Don’t let Pohto’s bulk fool you. I was pleasantly surprised when I turned on his hudl highlights to find an athletic kid whose strength is clearly on the offensive side of the floor. He can shoot it from anywhere and looks like someone who loves to shoot the deep ball. Most of his offensive highlights are actually from beyond the arc.
That doesn’t mean Kenny isn’t interested in banging down low, when called upon. A good chunk of his other offensive highlights show Pohto crashing the boards for athletic put-backs and he seems really developed in the pick and roll/pop game. That should match him up perfectly with Gopher PG of the future, Jamal Mashburn Jr.
Pohto committed to the University of Minnesota over Nebraska, who was Pitino’s only other real competition. That doesn’t mean he isn’t someone to be excited about, though. I know highlight reels are meant to showcase someone at their best but you don’t have to be a professional cbb scout to see the offensive prowess this youngster has.
At 210 pounds, he already has the type of bulk you want on a D1 athlete, especially with the type of game he is capable of playing. Who knows, maybe he’ll even add another inch or two before his growing is over…
Pitino Being Pitino
Pitino’s 2021 class is currently ranked #46 in the nation. Unfortunately, that’s pretty standard in Pitino’s recruiting world. The Gophers finished #49 nationally in the 2020 and have only finished inside the top-40 once since 2017. Most of Richard’s biggest recruiting hits lately have been pulled out of the transfer portal. That includes Liam Robbins and Both Gach, two transfers with very high expectations for 2020.
An international recruit is right up Pitino’s alley, too. He’s had at least one international kid in every class since 2018, when it was full of Minnesotan’s, Oturu, Omersa and Kalscheur. That includes Isaiah Ihnen (Germany), who was Pitino’s highest-rated recruit of 2019 and David Mutaf, a 3-star combo guard who will join the team for its 2020 campaign.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan