Gopher Basketball: With early signing period approaching, are there surprises in store?


Jul 18, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Team USA Midwest player Reid Travis (12) attempts to dunk the ball against Team Brasil during the Nike Global Challenge at Trinity University in Washington, DC. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As we inch closer and closer to the early signing period, the recruiting process will become more and more hectic. The Gophers still do not have a single commitment for the 2014 class, in which they have four open scholarships. They have a lot of strong leads and it will be interesting to see how it pans out but in the meantime, there is nonstop information, rumors, and speculation flying around about recruits nationwide. Here are some updates and things to keep an eye on.

Reid Travis:

Reid Travis has finally come out with a cut down list of schools he’s considering. The seven schools are Minnesota, Gonzaga, Michigan State, Duke, Stanford, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. Schools who he had expressed interest previously like Harvard, UCLA, and Iowa State all didn’t make the cut.

One school that may make you raise an eyebrow is Duke, who recently offered him a scholarship and is said to be rapidly picking up their recruitment of him. Travis is very studious and plans to incorporate academics heavily into his decision. Duke is a great basketball program with great academics. On paper, it seems like a great fit for him.

There are reasons for Gopher fans to not panic yet. Duke is heavily recruiting a slew of very talented big men including Goodluck Okonoboh, Myles Turner, Kevon Looney, and Jahlil Okafor. Duke would prefer those players over Travis so I’d be curious to hear the conversations between Duke and Travis about his priority level at this point. As it gets late in the process, Duke will likely make a big push for Travis if they are unable to land one of their higher priorities. If Duke makes a push, I would certainly slot them in as the favorite.

I think the thing that Minnesota has going for them is their committed recruitment of Travis. He has expressed his gratitude of their commitment and says he intends to return the favor by taking an official visit to Minnesota. He really likes where the program is going and knows that he will be an immediate starter and impact player for the Gophers. Even with the Duke offer, I think Stanford and Minnesota are still sitting closest to the top with Duke on their tails.

JP Macura

Anyone who has followed my Gophers coverage knows

I think the world of this kid

. He fits Pitino’s system, he fits Big Ten basketball, and he would be a huge asset in postseason play.

All his visits are over and we may see a commitment in the next couple of days (or hours, or minutes). The decision is coming soon! It’s looking to be between three teams: Minnesota, Xavier and Creighton (I’d be shocked if Purdue was chosen). I originally thought the Gophers had the edge but it’s now looking to be a pretty even spread where any team wouldn’t surprise me.

What gives me the most hope for the Gophers is that even after all his visits. he still said he was thinking about using an official visit to Minnesota despite being on campus a ton in August and early September. That would seem like a ceremonial way to give a verbal commitment.

Paul White

Paul White recently

reopened his recruitment

after discussing his current situation with his family and coach. He had originally cut his recruitment to Arizona, Georgetown, UCONN, Minnesota and DePaul.

The interesting thing about his reopened commitment is that the one school that emerged immediately after his recruitment reopened was Miami. Not only did their name come up quickly but they streamlined to the front of his official visit list. I’m curious to know the chain of events that lead to Miami becoming a top dog so quickly.

There was a bunch of speculation that Paul White was bitter about his recruitment. Rumors of top teams losing interest after his arm injury may have guided him in a different direction. Arizona landing a top recruit in Craig Victor and Georgetown focusing their attention elsewhere when White’s arm was broken couldn’t have helped either of their cases.

Fortunately, I have heard Pitino remained persistent in White’s recruitment through the injury so I’m hoping the Gophers will still get an official visit. For now, I would guess Miami is in the power position. I wouldn’t be shocked if he left Miami committed but that’s based solely off of a hunch.

Isaiah Whitehead

Earlier this week I tweeted: “Isaiah Whitehead is the biggest question mark in the country right now. Who the hell does he like? No one knows.” He responded with: “Just like I want it LOL.”

I was hoping to pry some information out of him but it appears he’s happy with keeping the fans on their toes.

Recently, he shocked everyone by setting up a visit with Seton Hall, who hadn’t been in the conversation in weeks. Isaiah’s top five teams changes daily. You never know. He is a five-star stud basketball player from New York City who is said to be committing before his senior season. That date is approaching faster than people think and yet he seems not much closer to having an established list, much less a favorite.

If I had to make a prediction, I would say Indiana is in the lead though that doesn’t mean much at this point. I do think the Gophers are high on his list based interviews and news articles where he tends to mention them fairly often as favorites, which is more than a lot of teams can say.

It’s been confirmed that Pitino will be in New York next week and will make a home visit. I hope to provide more information on this kid whenever it surfaces. A Gophers commitment from him would be the most significant commitment Minnesota has received in a long time.

Lourawls Nairn

Considered by many to be the most important recruit of the class, Nairn recently finished up his official visit to Minnesota with positive remarks. Adam Zagoria reports that Nairn’s high school coach said that Lourawls enjoyed the tip “a lot,” which you always want to hear following a visit.

He is currently at Oklahoma and a decision from him could come soon. Pitino, along with Oklahoma and possibly Indiana, will visit Nairn’s high school next week. Nairn is a top 100 recruit who’s known for his quickness and energy.