The Gophers have a big weekend ahead of them as they have two big recruits coming to campus in Josh Martin and Riley LaChance. Both players are ranked in ESPN’s top 100.
Josh Martin is a recruit we’ve been talking about for a while now. He emerged this summer as an athletic power forward who is able to knock down mid-range jump shots as well as play physical down-low. He also has the ability to get up and down the floor effectively.
His style of play would fit Pitino’s system incredibly well. In Pitino’s most recent blog post, he described a press in which the power forward would guard the inbounder.
“Speed and athleticism certainly is crucial to playing this style. We have to be in great shape in order to do this,” said Pitino. I believe Martin would excel in this defense.
Martin recently visited Florida State University and had a great time. He also intends to visit Pittsburg.
I asked Martin about what kind of competition he was looking for at the next level and he said he was less concerned with the conference because both the Big Ten and the ACC were dream conferences to play. Instead, Martin said he wanted to find a school that “can help me be the best I can be.”
He said he is excited to come to Minnesota and “get a better idea of what I’d be jumping into.” He will be watching the team play this weekend on his visit. Martin emphasized the importance of seeing how the team works together and judging whether or not this will be a promising situation for him as a player and student.
On Tuesday, Richard Pitino joined Martin and his family in Bothell, Wash. for an in-home visit.
“It went really well. I got to spend a couple of hours with them. I got a lot out of it,” said Martin of the visit.
He said they talked about his role on the team, how he would fit in, and what Minnesota is all about. He also said they talked about the incredible fan base in Minnesota and how the team gets the support of the entire state.
Along with Martin, Riley LaChance is another top prospect who will be visiting this weekend. His great play this summer lead to several high-major offers, which he is sifting through.
Minnesota entered the scene earlier this summer but only extended an offer recently. I had thought it was too late in the process to get on LaChance’s radar, but just this week, he elected to drop his Baylor visit and come to Minnesota instead. His father and coach has mentioned to several sources that the Big Ten is appealing due to its high level of play and proximity to their home in Brookfield, Wisc.
In terms of Riley’s game, he is a sharp shooter with solid passing skills. He is not known for his athleticism or on the ball defending, which is why I presume that Pitino waited so long to extend the offer. LaChance, in the end, was too intriguing of an offensive asset to not pursue. He has a great feel for the game.
The favorites for LaChance are considered to be Creighton, Iowa, Michigan State (who have not made an offer yet), and Vanderbilt.
It will be interesting to see how the visit to Minnesota will go for these talented young men. When I asked Martin about visiting the University of Minnesota with LaChance, Martin replied: “I’m looking forward to meeting him. I have heard good things about his game. We could be quite the tandem.”
Minnesota basketball fans would agree.