Obviously, the big news of the week was that the Gophers landed their first recruit of the year, Josh Martin. This is a sigh of relief for the fan base as it was excruciating to watch recruit after recruit bring the Gophers to the end of the rope just to break their hearts.
I think Josh’s commitment is helpful in a couple ways. First, it wasn’t helping the Gophers reputation among other recruits as a program that couldn’t retain interest from recruits to the point of a commitment. It was a bad stigma for what Minnesota had to sell. Josh’s commitment raises the intrigue of the program and hopefully will lure the attention of other serious recruits.
Also, Josh can now become a part of the recruiting process. He has a range of connections with recruits from his participation in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit along with other basketball opportunities. He can give his two cents on why he chose to make Minnesota his home instead of his many other high major offers.
Now that Richard Pitino has Martin committed. Where does he go from here?
Obviously, “the “Big Three” are the home runs that fans have been eyeing, but if those dreams were to come true, Minnesota will probably have to wait a bit longer, and maybe move some chips around to open up a scholarship. In the meantime, Pitino’s perseverance on the recruiting trial has produced many leads.
- Josh Cunningham: One of the most intriguing and mysterious options. He has kept his cards close in terms of who his favorites are. He’s a four-star recruit out of Chicago who is an extremely athletic 6-foot-7 forward. He’s a natural three but is skilled down low and physical enough to play the four. He’s great in transition and on defense and would be a perfect fit to Pitino’s system. Cunningham is probably the most elite option the Gophers are recruiting and his commitment would be huge. He is visiting Minnesota the second week of October.
- Carlos Morris: A JUCO player, Morris is an athletic 6-foot-5 wing playing at Chipola College. He was the second leading scorer on a team that is sending nearly its entire starting five to high major programs. He’s an offensive threat who can shoot the ball and get to the basket. I loved the comparison of Morris to former Gopher star Vincent Grier. Morris visited campus last weekend and gave rave reviews about his trip.
- Nate Mason: Nate is a guy whose name has reappeared on my radar recently. The Gophers offered the point guard in July but slowed down their recruitment until recently, after hearing Riley LaChance committed elsewhere. Mason had a great summer and impressed many with his ability to run the floor without turning the ball over. The Gophers visited him last week and are expected to see him again this week. Expect them to try to get him on campus for an official.