We're in the middle of basketball season, but we'd be remiss if we didn't use this space to discuss, even if briefly, the committment of Minneapolis prep wide receiver Bryce McNeal.
On NBC Saturday afternoon, the wide receiver who de-committed from Michigan looked at a table with four hats on it and pushed away Minnesota in favor of ACC's Clemson Tigers. I'll let Minnesota blogger Buck Bravo pick it up from here.
On occasion, a high school football recruit has the opportunity to make a commitment to a school not just to play football, but to change the course of a program. Bryce McNeal, like Michael Floyd before him, had the opportunity to be the player who definitively announced that the borders were locked down for the Minnesota Gopher football program. McNeal would have been a marquise (sic) player on the Gophers, become an instant local celebrity, and cemented a future as a favorite son of Minnesota.
If you follow the recruiting efforts of Tim Brewster, you know that defensive back Michael Carter--yes, related to former Gopher Tyrone--also had Minnesota on his mind when he made his declaration Saturday. The younger Carter opted for West Virginia.
And if you follow Brewster's recruiting efforts, you also know that perhaps his biggest priority as Minnesota coach has been to seal the borders and make the Golden Gopher football program one that builds a base with local talent. Through his first two years, Brewster has put his finger in the dike and received committments from many Minnesota high school players (Sam Maresh, Ra'Shede Hageman, Josh Campion, Moses Alipate, Matt Garin and others), but some of the top talent (Floyd, McNeal, Willie Mobley) continues slip away.
So, what say you? Has Brewster been successful in closing the border? .
- With all of the talk about Tubby Smith's dispersement of minutes for this year's Gophers, I found this nugget within this article about former Kentucky big man Mark Bradley interesting.
Bradley counts his two seasons for Kentucky as a blessing. If there's any fan resentment over his transfer to Villanova (where he averaged 20.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in one season before turning pro), he doesn't feel it. "I hated to leave," Bradley said. "We just had a few differences with what I thought I could do and what Tubby (Smith, then UK coach) thought I could do. "I think Tubby's a good guy. It was nothing personal. It was just when you become a junior in college and one of your goals is to become a pro athlete and you're not playing a ton of minutes, the best thing for me to do is to go someplace where I could showcase and play more minutes." Bradley was a face-the-basket big man who could shoot jumpers and pass. "A point-center," as then Temple coach John Chaney called him. Rick Pitino recruited him to play that way at Kentucky. Then when he got to UK, Smith became coach and wanted him to be a more traditional low-post big man. "Five feet and in and screening and rebounding, which is fine," Bradley said. "I understand the game well enough to know you need those guys. It just seemed like I was recruited to one system and didn't fit in the other.
- Eleven Warriors has a post-game anaylsis entitled "Marooned" after Minnesota's 68-59 win at The Barn on Saturday. I like seeing the Gophers described as "pyhsical."
- Gophers blogger Down with Goldy takes aim at Ohio State guard and Minnesota native PJ Hill for antics following Minnesota's win Saturday.
- The STrib's Jim Souhan writes that coaching, defense and depth help the Gophers men's basketball team short on offensive talent.
- John Millea pens a nice column on Hopkins senior and future Golden Gopher Royce White. White's number 1 priority on the floor? Leading Hopkins in assists! Really.
- Dan Monson's Long Beach State squad is 6-7 and a local columnist is arguing the former UofM head man should receive a raise. That got me thinking that maybe Pat Reusse would like to spend the last years of his career in California?
- Fiesta Bowl hype: Buckeye Battle Cry has reasons why Ohio State will beat Texas. I wasn't sold, but you might be.