Twitter is the go-to source for news these days and the Twitterverse is telling me that the Gophers received a verbal commitment from Dre Mathieu, a JUCO point guard from Central Arizona C.C.
Mathieu really had no offers coming out of high school in Knoxville and has really benefited from his time in the JUCO ranks to mature and improve. Out of high school Mathieu was allowed to walk-on at Moorehead State with an opportunity to earn a scholarship, he didn't earn it so he transferred. Now he won't have to pay for school and he had his pick of scholarship offers from UCLA, Ole Miss, Memphis, Washington State and several other mid-majors. After visiting this past weekend, he chose Minnesota to be his home for the next two years.
Last week GopherIllustrated tracked him down and had a nice article on the soon-to-be Gopher point.
"I like the style of play they are going to play at Minnesota and the relationship I have getting along with the coaches already, those are the reasons I still have Minnesota in my top four. I like the coaching staff and what they are telling me so far."
At 5-11, 165, Mathieu isn't going to wow you with his size, but quickness and the ability to be an effective point guard should allow him the opportunity to contribute right away.
I am in the midst of a more robust recruiting post which will include more on Matthieu, but the commitment came through today and this is where you can talk about it.
UPDATE: with linkage
Tennessee 1st Team All-State - back in his senior season he earned 1st team honors along with the likes of Andre Hollins.
The Knoxville Focus has a nice article on Mathieu's recent recruiting. This not only provides color on Mathieu from his high school days but also favorably compares him to Louisvill'es Russ Smith.
Rick Pitino almost made that mistake three years ago. He didn't think Smith was big enough and good enough to play at Louisville, but former longtime assistant Ralph Willard convinced him otherwise.
Willard had been on a recruiting trip to see 6-6 forward J.J. Moore when Smith caught his eye at South Kent School in Connecticut. Smith's tremendous speed made up for his lack of size.
I've often thought of Mathieu when watching Smith and Siva and the Cardinals dominate with their exciting brand of basketball, a style that is very much like the Controlled Chaos Bruce Pearl unleashed in his first couple of seasons at Tennessee.
Mathieu has a lot of folks pulling for him back home, including former high school coaches Mitch Mitchell and Matt Mercer.
"Talent-wise, Dre is probably the best all-around guard I've ever coached in high school," said Mitchell in February of 2011 when Mathieu was in his senior season
"He has awesome character and a grade point average over 3.00. He's a very kind-hearted kid, respectful, a joy to coach. He's one of those kids who comes along one of a few times in a coaching career."
Those are some nice quotes about his potential at the collegiate level and his character.