Gopher Basketball Recruiting: Gophers Sign Three in Early Signing Period

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Yes, this is a day late but it took me three days to get up my Monday Perspective this week so, leave me alone.

Gopher Basketball and Richard Pitino signed the first few names to the class of 2014 yesterday.  There are no surprises here, but the actual signing means the staff doesn't have to spend their days fighting off poachers and we can actually get some comments from Pitino on his future Gophers..

We have almost certainly missed out on all three of the elite local recruits, but that doesn't mean we are signing chumps.  I do believe there is legit reason to be excited about some of this class.Below are the three we signed, most of you know the names so I'll try to focus more on their potential impact than anything else.

PG - Nate Mason

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 160
Position: PG/SG
Home: DeCatur, Georgia
High School: Montrose Christian (in Maryland)
AAU: CP3 All-Stars (runner-up at Peach Jam)
Rank/Stars: consensus 3-star, top 150 for 247sports.com and top 175 f
Offers: Kansas State, Virginia, Clemson, Creighton, Memphis and many mid-majors

Mason is a scoring point guard who plays on the court with a ton of poise and confidence.  His stock shot up this summer when he competed on one of the best AAU teams in the country and thrived.  Twice in the press conference Coach Pitino said they thought they got a real steal with Mason.

I would expect that he will be a key contributor off the bench as a true freshman who will play the point and some SG.  Deandre Mathieu will likely start and Mason will be one of the first off the bench playing a lot of minutes and will be an impact freshman.  This is a really good pickup for Pitino and staff, one that fills a need and should have some early impact.

PF - Josh Martin

Height: 6'7"
Weight: 210
Position: PF
Home: Bothell, Washington
High School: Bothell High School (Seattle area)
Rank/Stars: consensus 3-star
Offers: Florida State, Pitt, Gonzaga, Cal, Oklahoma St, UCLA, Washington, Washington St.

This was Pitino's first commitment of the class and he mentioned how much Martin has a motor that won't quit.  This kid is a bit raw but has a strong body and physically should be able to handl the Big Ten as a true freshman.  His skill set needs to develop a bit and his desire is to eventually move to playing some small forward for the Gophers.

Martin fills a huge area of need for the 2014-15 Gophers but if this year's squad gets adequate production out of Oto, Joey King and Mo Walker then I wouldn't be shocked to see him redshirt a year.  Martin will be a solid player over his Gopher career.  He should run the floor very well, should be a solid rebounder and while he won't be a primary scorer; he should be able to contribute a few buckets per game and defend well.

SG - Carlos Morris

Height: 6'6"
Weight: 175
Position: SG
Home: Apalachicola, Fla.
School: Chipola J.C. (Florida)
Rank/Stars: consensus 3-star, #7 JUCO prospect in 247 composite rankings.
Offers: Seton Hall, UAB, Arkansas, DePaul, South Florida

JUCO transfer and the player who will have the biggest impact of the class as it currently stands.  JUCO transfers are always a big mystery.  Even when you think you have an impact player sometimes you end up with  Devron Bostic instead of a Bobby Jackson.  I think Morris is going to be a great fit for the program and is going to have a big impact.  I would anticipate that Morris is starting in Austin Hollins' vacated spot.

Next year's roster and scholarship allotment should look like this.

Player Pos 2014-15 2015-16 2015-16 2015-16
SR Andre Hollins G X - - -
SR Dre Mathieu PG X - - -
SR Maurice Walker C X - - -
SR Elliot Eliason C X - - -
SR Oto Osenieks F X - - -
JR Wally Ellenson SF X X - -
JR Joey King PF X X - -
JR Carolos Morris SG X X - -
SO Charles Buggs PF X X X -
FR Daquein McNeil G X X X X
FR Josh Martin F X X X X
FR Nate Mason G X X X X
Scholarships 12 7 4 4
Available 1 6 9 9

The staff has one more scholarship to work with for this year and then there will be quite a few scholarships available in the next recruiting cycle (where I bet they bring in a JUCO or two to help balance out the classes).  Another guard would be the likely use of this year's remainign scholarship.

I am a pretty big fan of the three who have signed.  I think you will all be very pleased with Mason and Morris in the backcourt next year and Martin will develop into a solid player.

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