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Golden Nuggets for 10.1.08

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Fox Sports senior basketball writer Jeff Goodman gives credit where credit is due: To Tubby Smith and Minnesota's coaching staff for putting together a second straight top-20ish recruiting class.

Tubby Smith was hammered in his days in Lexington by Wildcat fans for his failure to recruit McDonald's All-Americans.

I wrote it, fans yelled it and ultimately it was Smith's inability to get the big-time players that led to his departure from one of the nation's most prestigious programs.

Now in his brief tenure at Minnesota, Smith has already made huge waves on the recruiting trail that previous coaches in the program were unable to accomplish.

We know why Tubby and the Gophers are getting this type of praise. Smith made waves with his first recruiting class that includes freshman Ralph Sampson III, Colton Iverson and the best player in Canada Devoe Joseph. And two JUCO transfers--sophomore Paul Carter and junior Devron Bostick--could step in and contribute immediately.

Now, with Royce White and Rodney WIlliams shoring up the 2009 class, Minnesota basketball could be a contender real soon. Goodman is taking notice.

Smith, a year after securing a legitimate Top 25 national recruiting class, has gotten commitments from two elite in-state players who will be in the conversation when the McDonald's All-American voting comes around next year.

I'm not saying they will be in the game, but they are high-caliber players and Smith beat out some big-time schools for their services.

In the last year observing Tubby, I've been impressed with his level-headedness. He doesn't over hype his team. He keeps expectations realistic. And that's why this quote really stood out to me.

"We felt like we've been able to get a lot done since we've gotten here," Tubby Smith said. "We're excited, but the foundation was laid by the previous staff. We're very fortunate to land the class we landed last year. They are all talented, but more importantly, they are all high-character young men. It just fell into place."

"It's just an amazing turn of events," added Smith. "We're excited, but they've got to produce."

An amazing turn of events! I don't think Tubby would say that unless he felt future Minnesota teams can be something fairly special.

  • Marcus Fuller of the PiPress has more on Rodney Williams here, including a comment from Howard Pulley's Rene Pulley calling Williams the most athletic player to come out of Minnesota in 30 years.
  • Dime Magazine, which says Rodney Williams is one of the best "leapers in the nation" points out a very unfortunate headline: "Cooper High School basketball star Rodney Williams Jr. gives oral.” Yikes. Naughty copy editor.
  • Buck Bravo shares his thoughts on the Gophers-Ohio State game.
  • Tim Brewster called Terelle Pryor a "tremendous jug threat." Just pointing that out in anticipation of this final item. ...
  • One of my favorite blogs, that I should probably link to more often, the Greet Machine, put together a very entertaning "What I'd do if I were" post. A snippet from the Tim Brewster section:
  • But secretly, in the depths of my very soul, I would be preparing for the Michigan game. I would watch film of Michigan football 24 hours a day. I would join Michigan football message boards and talk smack. I would think about winning the Little Brown Jug until I couldn't think about anything else.

    In fact, I would think about the Jug so much I would replace the word "tremendous" with the word "Jug" in daily conversation and I wouldn't even know I was doing it! For example:

    "Indiana has a Jug defense. We are going to have to do a Jug amount of preparation if we are going to score any touchdowns against them."

    I really think we should take this suggestion and run with it. Agree?