Anyone who ever reads this blog knows that I like to harp a lot on our coaches and how they play the expectations game. Tim Brewster is getting a little better in this department, but I still think Tubby Smith has the expectations game down.
In an interview in Ontario during a clinic he's putting on, Smith told the local paper the following when asked about expectations for the upcoming season.
Smith says it will be up to Joseph, along with other top recruits such as Ralph Sampson III, Colton Iverson, Paul Carter and Devron Bostick, to determine how successful the Golden Gophers will be this season. A March Madness berth? Perhaps not this year.
"It's a ways off. We're in a very competitive conference, but we'll see. It will depend how we do in the Big Ten. Last year, we were 8-10 and should have been 10-8. If we get to .500 in the league, then we will have a successful Big Ten season."
An NCAA tournament berth will, most certainly, depend on the court savvy of such incoming freshman players as Joseph.
"That's our goal, but things have got to fall into place. We have three first-year players and two junior college players, who are still freshmen. We'll be calling on these freshman players to do a lot."
That's the right message to be sending to the masses. The article also highlighted Smith's feelings about Joseph. The Canadian guard sounds like he's doing well so far.
He was only too pleased to discuss his prized freshman Joseph, who's already hard at work at the U. of Minnesota in preparation for the 2008-09 season that gets underway next month.
"He's an unbelievable athlete and a phenomenal runner. He'll run the mile and two miles and he laps people, which speaks to his stamina and endurance. He's in great shape, but he has to get a bit stronger. But, he's committed, he's a kid that's very coachable. We've given him a program in the weight room and he's done everything we've asked him to. He's a gym rat. I dropped by 'The Barn' Williams Arena and he was there at 9:30, 10 at night, shooting, getting shots up. He has a great work ethic. That's what attracted us to him, not only his ability to play the game."
As for whether Joseph will start, Smith was non-commital. Joseph will have to earn his minutes. Good answers all!!!!!
- In a mailbag, ESPN's Rittenberg calls Eric Decker the best wide receiver no one has heard of. He also notes Decker has a tough match-up this weekend with Illinois' Vontae Davis.
- Charley Walters talked to Tim Brewster about the importance of having the Gophers in the top-25 polls. Brewster didn't seem too interested, saying it will work itself out if the team is deserving. A win against Brewster's alma mater this weekend would be as good a resume booster as any.
- Thought Tubby Smith was done with his 2009 recruiting class? Think again. Rivals notes that Tubby went to New Hampshire recently to see top-100 big man Andrew Fitzgerald. A long list of schools are vying for Fitzgerald's services, including California, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette and Oklahoma, among others. Another recruit would likely mean, as has been pointed out here, that Blake Hoffarber would likely move to an academic scholarship.
- I don't think Patrick Reusse quite knew how to criticize the Minnesota defense. He writes that it has went from brutal to respectable.
- Somehow there is a prediction out there that has Penn State beating Wisconsin 28.5 to 19. A Wisconsin loss is a Wisconsin loss in my humble opinion.
- While we're on Wisconsin, did anyone notice their band was suspended for the Ohio State game for hazing? (H/T-MGO).