The Gophers Roster in Review

Teeing off some recommendations by GoAUpher, I'm putting this (which I plan on also posting on the Bruins site) in a fanpost. Its a primer on the Gophers roster designed as a basic intro which yall don't really need. That being said, this is pure opinion without stats so there may be some of you who disagree quite vehemently with my take. I urge you, please have patience.

The Gophers really only have 4 positions where you can pencil in the player for good minutes and the starting lineup has been changed just about every game. The missing position tends to be either the 3 spot or the 4 spot depending if Tubby for reasons nobody knows decides to go really big or not. The subs rotations are even stranger as was pointed out with Tubby quite regularly playing people who no business being on the court, aren't playing well or are simply miscast.

In any case, you have only 2 players that will (or should) definitely be on:

Trevor Mbakwe (Senior PF-C): the oldest man (6th year senior) in college basketball is also this team's best and most consistent player. He will outrebound, muscle and work anybody you put him against. If he's on, the Gophers are going to rebound and beat you up. There are some big problems however. His motor can get him in trouble if the refs call it closely, the passing isn't great, his shooting can be very streaky (especially from the free throw line) and he has a penchant for turnovers (oftentimes, however, this can be blamed on others simply standing around like idiots). On the defensive side of the ball, he does a very good job of not conceding ground and getting blocks which might otherwise hamper him against taller players with the notable exceptions of Mason Plumlee and A.J. Hammons this year. Where he struggles tends to be on guys who take him out of his comfort zone around the perimeter. That being said, he's the Gophers best player in my opinion on both sides of the ball with a very consistent trackrecord. His problems tend more often than not to be the team around him as he's very rarely not moving and working.

Andre Hollins (Sophmore PG-SG): Dre is a streaky player in the course of a game whose reliability is typically dependent upon his offensive efficiency as he's the only Gopher who could be called a shooter all season. For example, he put up 40 on a good Memphis team (and that was with getting cold in the 2nd half) so he's gonna get points be it from 3 or inside but, if he takes too many bad ones, he can be as much of the problem as the solution. Many in the Gophers community say he's miscast as a PG which I disagree with because he has the on ball skills to match up with anyone in the B1G. For example, Keith Appling really struggled to contain him getting into the lane and making stepback jumpshots both time they played Michigan St. Like Trevor, he can struggle with turnovers but, once again, most of this can be attributed to lack of movement by other players forcing him to do too much. Defensively, he's solid if not spectacular like most of the team which will probably lead him to being put on whoever is the second most threat. Overall, Dre can make his own offense even when the play has stalled around him, but it is usually not enough.

The Gophers have 2 more players who will almost certainly be on the court but whether or not they'll get anything from them is anybody's guess:

Austin Hollins (Junior SG): Austin, son of Lionel and of no relation to Dre (though both are from Memphis), is the Gophers best defensive guard who they will stick on the top player (i'm guessing Muhammad for you lot). He can hold his own in this roll but he simply doesn't have Craftian upside to just stop the scoring. It is more of a limit the damage thing than anything else. The reason why he's on this section of the overview instead of up top though is his offense. Simply put, he's been colder than Bemidji for the past two months to the point where he lost his position against Nebraska (though he's gotten better and more confident as of late knocking down a couple against Illinois and regaining said position). Before Austin entered the cold snap, he was the Gophers best shooter knocking down 5 triples in 6 possessions in about 2.5 minutes against Northwestern which won the game. If he's on, Austin provides much needed shooting depth. In terms of the overall, he's a smart player who for whatever reason has been playing exceptionally dumb with turnovers and being a major component in Tubby's do nothing offense.

Rodney Williams (Senior SF-PF): Rodney is one of the best athletes in college basketball who was ranked earlier this year as being the 2nd best dunker all time in the B1G (and I buy it). The problem is that he's got no basketball smarts and, if things aren't going right, is the only one of these 4 who brings absolutely no value when things go wrong. He can't make a jumpshout, he'll turn the ball over, he'll look absolutely clueless, he'll give up a crapload of offensive rebounds, won't hustle, won't work inside, will take god awful shots especially from 3, will constantly look for fouls he's got no business getting, and, in general, will be a whiny twit who stands around a lot. When things are good however, Rodney is why the Gophers are so good and deep on the oboards. He'll make dunks and rebounds that nobody (and I mean nobody) else in the B1G can do while adding in all of the energy and passion that make him a fan favorite. Overall, he is a microcosm of this team and, if he has does well, the Gophers have won. That isn't to say he's at fault for their problems (that's Tubby and his system) rather that he's symptomatic of the team as a whole.

The rest (including the 5th starting position) I'm just gonna put in order of how I view their skill cause its really anybody's guess as to what Tubby's going to do.

Elliott Eliason (Sophmore C): If he's in, Rodney will move out to the perimeter where he'll try to crash the boards. Offensively, Elliott has little scoring value as he doesn't take enough shots (no really, he should) because he puts it in the air like a trebuchet (though with uncanny accuracy) and his post up game is incredibly raw. However, he may well be the team's best passer and can be part of the solution when their halfcourt stalls. I'd like to see more of him as he's actually quite consistent. Defensively, he's an absolute wall against players at his level but he's got a snowball's chance in who the hell knows where against star big men.

Andre Ingram (Senior C): Ingram is part of why this team has so much ability on the boards. He's incredibly strong and athletic on both the glass and defensively where he's got a lot of value. The problem is that he's got next to no offensive value unless it's a dunk (part of the stand around crew) and is prone to mental mistakes on both sides of the court.

Maverick Ahamnesi (Junior PG): Maverick is a center for hate for most of the fanbase. He's fond of falling over for no good reason on both sides of the court, can't run an offense and dribbles with the skill of a 7 footer despite playing PG. He can however (on the rare occasions he actually pulls up) shoot the ball. Personally, I think he's miscast at PG and should be at SG, but Tubby never makes that decision leading to him being a big part of the stand around problem. Rather, as is common with this team, it ends up happening de facto in the half court when Dre or Julian just takes over.

Joe Coleman (Sophmore SG): Joe is the big disappointment on the team. He came into the season as a starter and, when the team was rolling @ Illinois, put up very good numbers. He's great around the basket, running cuts, and, in general, fitting into the offensive system. If he's scoring, Tubby is having a good game. The problem is he hasn't been because he can't shoot worth hell and, imho, is the single worst defensive player on the team. Like the rest of the team, he'll try to defend the lane (which he does with slightly better success) but he is a ####ing idiot if he's put on any kind of a shooter. He'll get sucked in without fail on anybody's penetration, fail to get back out and get shot over constantly. Hell, if you're passing around the perimeter there's a good chance Joe will give his man an open look anyway. In general, he (after Tubby) is at fault for the downward slide of the Gophs going from a leading scorer with some defense to a black ####ing hole on both sides of the court. Oh and he is the single worst offender in the whole let's just stand here and fail to pass it around the $$$$ing perimeter thing. He's got some upside, but you are quite likely not to see it.

Julian Welch (Senior PG-SG): Julian is a great shooter who hasn't been shooting well and is a large part of why the Gophers have gone to having only one consistent shooter. Last year, he hit about 40% from 3. This year he has not. Still, he can dribble the ball (got some very pretty baskets) and create his own offense. Usually though, he's part of the problem of standing around. Julian also can't play defense (mainly, getting around, over, through, under screens of any kind) which is why he's been benched by and large.

Mo Walker (Sophmore C): He's fat and has a surprisingly soft touch. However, he's so slow that Tubby has to hide him in a zone to play him.

Oto Oslkjaflsdhfksjd: He sucks. Don't play him.

Editors of The Daily Gopher retain the right to remove posts deemed excessively offensive or grossly inappropriate. Keep it clean and don't be mean.

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