It appears the Joseph brothers will not wear maroon and gold together for the Gophers. Reports indicate that Cory Joseph, Devoe Joseph's younger brother, has offered his verbal committment to Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns over Tubby Smith and the Golden Gophers, among other finalists on his list.
This is unfortunate news for Minnesota fans. Cory had the talent to come in and immediately be this team's best offensive player, fill a need at point guard and take the Gophers from a middle of the road Big Ten team to a Big Ten title contender. It doesn't appear that will happen.
The inability to land Cory Joseph, with the obvious recruiting advantage of having Devoe on the Minnesota roster, is troubling. In Tubby's time at Minnesota now, he's been unable to land any marquee talent, unless you consider Minnesota-native Royce White, and we know how that worked out.
The Dallas Morning News quotes Joseph as saying his relationship with Rick Barnes was a big factor.
"It was mostly the relationship I had with coach [Rick] Barnes," Joseph said about his decision. "I have good relationships with all the coaches, but my relationship with Coach Barnes fit me best."
So Barnes found a way to leapfrog Tubby Smith, who likely had much more time to build a relationship with Cory. That's disappointing. I also wonder if Tubby Smith's coaching style plays a role in the decisions of top-notch talent to avoid his schools. Tubby is the rare coach that tries to play 10 to 12 players per game. He's the rare coach who makes mass, five-in, five-out, substitutions. He's also clearly not good at coaching offensive basketball. If you're Cory Joseph, and your major goal is to make it to the NBA, Tubby just might not be the right fit.
For the Gophers, this means that Devoe Joseph is likely your starting point guard heading into next year. Al Nolen likely plays some point guard for this team as well.
I'm disappointed by this news. Had Tubby landed Cory Joseph, the program could have taken a leap forward. As it is, I'm not sure this program is going to be able to leap forward from the middle of the Big Ten pack. And unless something changes, this is poised to be Tubby Smith's most disappointing class of recruits since coming to the Gophers.