Note: This was written before the end of the men's basketball game. Our review of the SDSU game against the Gophers will be up later today.
Great piece at the 4-letter on Tubby Smith closing the borders.
Closing the borders, so to speak, was a top priority of Smith's.
"It's important to stabilize the recruiting, and to help people understand that there's a new direction and a new commitment," Smith said. "I wanted people to know I'm serious about keeping the talent here in Minnesota."
Smith put the cornerstone in place with his second recruiting class, signing the state's top two players in Royce White (Minnetonka, Minn./Hopkins) and Rodney Williams (New Hope, Minn./Robbinsdale Cooper) -- friends since fourth grade and rival forwards who rank in the top third of the ESPNU 100.
"They were about as good as we could find in the country, and they were right in our backyard," Smith said. "We focused our attention on them right when we got here. To be able to land those two players, it was critical."
All he had to do was ask.
"I always wanted to play for the Gophers, but if they didn't have a coach like Tubby Smith, I wasn't even going to consider them," said Williams, a senior at Robbinsdale Cooper who ranks 29th in the Class of 2009. "He didn't really have to do a lot of convincing. As soon as I heard he was coming, I kind of had my mind set."
"There's a misconception that people don't want to live here or be here," added White. "I like playing in front of people that I've known my whole life. It was a major bonus that Tubby came here. He definitely sealed the deal."
Closing the borders was one thing, but I love the way Tubby ends the article.
"I want to win championships, and I think we have that potential," he said. "If we do things the right way, that's a possibility in my tenure here. And I've got a few more years here, so hopefully we'll be in Final Fours and considered the type of team that can compete in that type of arena."
- Minnesota's Big Ten opener on Dec. 31 against Michigan State at The Barn has changed from an evening tip to a 11 a.m. central time tip to not conflict with the Insight Bowl. Lame. I'd much prefer an evening tip.
- If you're a MInnesota high school basketball fan, MaxPreps has some nice storylines to pay attention to as the season heats up. Rodney Williams is discussed. And if you read through the piece, you'll see a bunch of Division 1 talent. Minnesota's youth basketball program is producing considerable talent.
- Tim Brewster's Gophers are getting no respect from this Kansas sports blogger.
- Spculation is that Dan Monson will look for a new job with a major program next year. From the Press-Telegram: "The overwhelming feeling among insiders is that Monson, former head coach at Gonzaga and Minnesota, will jump at one of the inevitable offers that will come his way in the off-season from one of the majors."