This weekend the Twin Cities will be host to a very good AAU basketball tournament. ThThe Sabes Foundation Invitational at Bloomington Jefferson High School is usually a good tournament but this year it will be showcasing one of the top players in the country.
Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa will be here this weekend playing for his All-Iowa Attack team. Barnes is a top 5 player according to Rivals and the #1 soon to be senior in the country according to Scout. The best part about Barnes is that he recently narrowed his list down to 12 schools and Minnesota made that list. Marcus Fuller caught up with Jake Sullivan (former Taratan and Iowa State basketball player) who is coaching Barnes' AAU team and he had this to say...
"I think he loves the coaching staff up there and what they have to offer. A unique thing with Harrison is that it's going to be a drawn-out process. I think he has as good a chance at going to Minnesota as anywhere else right now."
Having Tubby makes being a Gopher basketball fan so much more fun doesn't it? The reality is that we'll have to beat out teams like North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, etc to get Barnes to sign on the dotted line. But Barnes is a program changing forward who could possibly take us from a very good team in 2010-2011 to a potential Final Four team. Get out to the Sabes Foundation Invitational and tell Harrison he has a home here in Minnesota!
There will be many other big names and Gopher targets at the tournament this weekend including Alex Kirk from New Mexico, Marcus Crider from Ohio, Ricky Kreklow from Missouri, Jacob Thomas and Chad Calcaterra both from Minnesota. I'm sure that I am missing several names but your best source for who will be there is Ryan over at Gopher Illustrated. He should have previews up the rest of this week and will cover the tournament closer than any other outlet.
And Sentrel Henderson will also be playing this weekend (the #1 football recruit in the country), be sure to give him some love as well.
There was this article in the LA Times last week about the infamous (he's not just famous, he's INfamous!) Sid Hartman. This really is a MUST READ. It talks about his role with the Mpls Lakers. The best part is how he had a deal lined up to essentially land Bill
WaltonRussell, ownership said no, Sid quit, Lakers were sold and moved to LA. Fascinating when you think about it.
- Women's basketball also participates in the B10/ACC Challenge and usually this would be ignored but we do have an interesting matchup. The Gopher women will be facing Maryland and former Gopher coach Brenda Frese (formerly Oldfield when she was here). She was last here in 2002 (or maybe 2003) so there will not be any former players or any drama like that but it will be an interesting storyline nonetheless.
- Another way too early top 25 for next year's basketball season. This one has the Gophers right at #16, which seems to be the consensus area for the Gophers. "The Prognosis: Tubby Smith is a really good coach, for those of you who forgot when he was, perhaps, a little overmatched by expectations at Kentucky. Smith brings back Lawrence Westbrook and a group of overachievers committed to defense, which is always a recipe for success. Expect the Gophers to compete for a championship in what might be the best conference in the country."
- Roman Augustoviz has a nice story on the turnaround by the Gopher baseball team.