Category: Gophers Basketball


Image courtesy of GopherSports.com

 The Minnesota Gophers officially announced their new Athletic Director Norwood Teague to replace Joel Maturi. On February 2nd, Maturi made the announced he is stepping down effective July 1st and the Gophers have been looking for a replacement since.

 Teague was the AD with Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) since 2006 and helped VCU become a powerhouse in the Colonial conference. According to ESPN, under Teague, VCU’s athletic annual fund has grown more than 119 percent, with averaging more than 20 percent annually. He has also led the campaign to build a $10 million practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball and other sports. He didn’t have a football program during his time as AD.

 His first big choice as AD will be whether or not to extend Tubby Smith. Smith has already been in talks of a contract extension before Teague’s arrival.

It’s now official, Trevor Mbakwe will use his sixth year of eligibility next season and return to the Gophers basketball team. The video below was posted by the university to announce his return in dramatic fashion. The 2012-13 Gophers season will forever be linked with “Unfinished Business.” Continue reading

 UPDATE: The guys on ESPN radio 104.5 says the chances of hiring Tubby are “very high.” They go as far as putting an 80% likelihood of it occurring. Don’t read too much into the percentages at this point. They usually don’t have much meaning. Why not 85% or 75%? Basically, all fans need to know is that the chances LSU makes a meaningful offer is high at this point.

 Tubby Smith is coming off a year in which he led the Golden Gophers to the NIT Championship only to lose to Stanford. This kind of success can be a real bargaining chip for Smith as he looks to secure a contract extension. Now, he has another chip to help the process. Smith has reportedly been in contact with LSU regarding a head coaching position. LSU finished last season 18-15 (7-9 in the SEC) and its head coaching position is vacant.

 Tubby has not made any comments in regards to the reports at this moment. Minnesota has been working on extending Smith who has a contract that expires at the end of the 2013-2014 season.

Sophomore guard Chip Armelin will be leaving the Gophers basketball program after being granted a release from his scholarship. He appeared in all 38 games for the Gophers last season primarily off the bench while averaging 5.2 points per game. He will likely look to transfer and play his junior season elsewhere and possibly get more playing time. Armelin leaving the team will open up a scholarship for the possible return of Trevor Mbakwe. Mbakwe hinted on his twitter account of a possible return by saying he has unfinished business but nothing is official yet.

 The Gophers’ season ended Thursday with a 75-51 rout against Stanford in the NIT Championship Game. You could say the Gophers found their identity during their NIT tournament run by playing a more up-tempo style of game than previously seen this season. Led by Andre Hollins and Rodney Williams they ran by, and dunked over their first 4 opponents taking them to the NIT Championship Game. Unfortunately for this Gophers squad, Stanford was ready for the Gophers new style of play. Stanford clogged up the lane, not allowing the Gophers to get the points in the paint they were able to get in the previous games. They also played strong defense, blocked shots and took charges under the basket which caused countless number of turnovers for the Gophers. Both Andre Hollins and Rodney Williams fouled out early as well which didn’t help the Gophers chances of a comeback. To say the least this was a disaster after such an impressive series of games this team was able to string together.

 To look on the bright side of things, Andre Hollins looks to be turning into a star point guard for the Gophers and will only be a sophomore next season. Likely, the entire core of the team is expected to return next season (unless Rodney Williams decides to go pro) including the addition of a solid recruiting class, a big center in Mo Walker, who was injured early in the year, and possibly Trevor Mbakwe who was granted a 6th season of eligibility. That being said, I think there is a lot to look forward to when looking at this Gophers squad for next season.

 The Minnesota Gophers downed #1 Washington Huskies 68-67 to head to the NIT Championship. They will now face 3-seed Stanford on Thursday, March 29th. It was a close and exciting game and couldn’t be decided in just 2 halves, not that it shouldn’t have been. The referees decided to swallow their whistles at the wrong time and almost decided the game instead. Two obvious no-calls occurred the first allowing Washington to climb back into the game. The second allowing the game to head to overtime. Ultimately, the game went in the right direction and the Gophers came out on top (the picture below is from their press conference).

 The biggest reason was freshman Andre Hollins who had breakout performance. He finished with 20 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds. He was under immense pressure and was clutch the whole time. Rodney Williams was his usual effective self scoring 18 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Here is hoping he comes back for his senior year. If not, hopefully he can finish his season on a high note, with a NIT Championship trophy. That still has to be determined.

 Washington was led by Terrence Ross with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists. Pay attention to him Wolves fans. He could fall into the 12-18 range in the draft and may be the SG the Wolves desperately need.

According to sources, Minnesota Gophers’ forward Trevor Mbakwe has been granted a 6th year of eligibility. Mbakwe suffered a torn ACL in November causing him to miss the rest of this season. He is expected to be ready to play next season and has had no setbacks in his rehab. He is currently traveling with the team on their run in the NIT tournament. Trevor will still need to decide however if he will return to college for the final year or decide to enter the NBA draft. If he enters his name into the draft to test the waters he will have until April 10th to withdraw his name. If he does not declare early he will have until April 29th to declare for the draft but would have less insight into how he would fare in the draft. You can expect that he will declare for the draft to test the waters and determine his draft stock but I expect him to withdraw from the draft before the April 10th deadline and return to College. Ralph Sampson III took that approach last season and returned to college after finding out he would not be drafted very high. I think Mbakwe’s current injury status could severely hurt his stock in the NBA draft and may help push him into returning for his final year with the Gophers. Also, all indications from his twitter account have been pointing toward a possible return. The fact that he is already 24 years old, the same age as Kevin Love, could be reason that he would finally want to go pro. If he does want to return to college, the University will need to sort out it’s scholarship situation because they have no scholarships available for him at this time. One thing I know for sure is the fans want him back!