Tubby Smith's incoming recruiting class outshines anything Dan Monson ever put together. But for the Gophers to make long-term inroads in the Big Ten, Tubby and the Gophers need to ensure local prospects don't bolt. Getting Rivals 5-star Royce White was a definite step in the right direction.
Adding his friend, teammate and fellow highly-ranked recruit Rodney Williams has been a longer process. The PiPress' Marcus Fuller reported the other day that Williams has cut his list of potential schools to six (though a few months ago the list was at three). Anyway, the list includes Minnesota, Kansas, Connecticut, Memphis, Miami (Fla) and Santa Clara. Yes, Santa Clara. And that list contradicts what Rivals suggests for Williams. They have him with "high" interest in Minnesota, Miami and Wisconsin (though I'm pretty sure Bo Ryan is out of scholarships for '09).
Of the two local products, I believe the must-have was White. He plays the small forward position, a slot the Gophers need an infusion of athleticism. Meanwhile, the Gophers are bringing in Devoe Joseph, a 1-2 combo guard who would seem to be put in a three-guard rotation this year with junior Lawrence Westbrook and sophomore Al Nolen. Come 2009, Williams will have to battle past Joseph and a senior Westbrook to get in the lineup. White has no such obstacles.
Anyway, we'll be following the White recruitment closely, and the basketball recruiting page is under construction and will eventually provide all the need-to-knows for the recruiting scene.
On to everything else from the magical world of the Interwebs.
- Devoe Joseph is cleared to play for Tubby Smith next year, so reports Marcus Fuller of the PiPress. There was a technical hang-up. This is excellent news. Details here.
- Speaking of being cleared to play for the Gophers, defensive end recruit Brandon Kirksey has finally been cleared to play and arrived on campus Thursday, according to the PiPress.
- The Star Tribune reports an interesting decision by Tim Brewster to
allow Dominic Jones (pictured), who was convicted of sexual assault in April, to address his current football team. I'm not sure what to make of this move. Your thoughts? What would his message be exactly? Don't do anything stupid? Don't videotape your indiscretions? You are not above the law? Don't take playing college football for granted? This is probably a good thing for Jones' personal image, and he has seemed contrite, but is it a good idea to bring last year's headache back in front of the team?
- Forbes.com says Iowa's Kirk Ferentz is the most overpaid coach in the country. A 19-18 record since '05 while making $3.4 million per? I'd say overpaid makes sense. Jim Tressell, making $2.6 million per is ranked as the number one underpaid coach. While I agree with this, remember that Forbes once suggested Kevin McHale was an unparalleled general manager IN ALL OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.
- The AP's Dave Campbell put together a Minnesota preview and I'm really liking the following quote from Tim Brewster. To me, it shows he's growing into his job a little, which will hopefully mean a bigger focus on some of the small things.
"It's a little bit more of a calm feeling," he said last week, on the first day of fall practice. "I think I understand the job and exactly what it entails. I think we all understand each other, players and coaches, and so I think that's the exciting thing for me. The reason why I feel really good and I feel calm is that these kids have worked so hard, and when you match hard work with talent good things are going to happen."
- A Lexington, KY Waffle House hosted a travelling Tar Heel fan. It made for an interesting counter-top conversation and lessons learned. Somehow I have a feeling we'll be having a few tete-a-tete with the UK faithful at some point or another.
- Infiltration! The North Dakota State Bison now apparently have a Twin Cities radio affiliate. That reminds me, fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face. Damn Bison.
- ESPN's Adam Rittenberg published a Q&A with future Purdue football head man Danny Hope. Nothing of real import in the Q&A, unless you want to get to know Hope. But I point this out because I've wanted to write for sometime how envious I am of how Purdue has been able to transition both the football and basketball teams. Matt Painter spent a year in waiting under Gene Keady and the same goes for Hope/Joe Tiller. This seems to be an ideal way to transition, IMO.