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Golden Nugz - 07.26.11

Today is less links and more talk.

Marcus Fuller published a good article on the summers of Julian Welch and Andre Hollins, two of the incoming Gopher guards.

Hollins has moved to the Twin Cities, has been working out with the team and participating in the Howard Pulley summer league.

"He's a good player," said fellow incoming freshman Joe Coleman, a teammate of Hollins in the Howard Pulley League in Eagan, which features local high school, college and pro players. "He's fast as lightning."

This year's Tennessee Mr. Basketball winner, Hollins arrived for summer school last month and literally blew away his teammates with his speed during pickup games at Williams Arena. His skills should fit in well with the up-tempo style favored by Smith.

Welch, on the other hand, is not yet able to come to Minnesota and is living at home in Sacramento finishing up his JUCO requirements.

"I can't wait until September comes so I can get out to Minnesota," Welch said. "It's tough not being there, but I've been working on getting better at everything. Big Ten is another level, so I've been working on shooting, dribbling, on-ball defense and rebounding. I'm just trying to be a well-rounded player so that when I get out there I can fit right into the system."

The battle for playing time and possibly the starting role as the team's point guard is very interesting. The freshman has the advantage of three months to play with his teammates, learn some of what we'll be running and some valuable time to get acclimated to his surroundings. The JUCO has the advantage of playing at the D1 level and has a better understanding of what it takes to compete and win at this level.

Both will be adjusting to new surroundings, new teammates and a new position as both made the move to point at one point last season.

"I played a lot of point guard last year," Welch said. "I'm actually looking forward to it (at Minnesota) - being able to handle the ball and have the ball in my hands to help my teammates make plays and make them better."

Hollins has helped Coleman, last year's Minnesota Mr. Basketball, showcase his offensive skills in Pulley games this summer. He made sure Coleman got the ball enough to score a league-best 52 points a couple weeks ago.

It should be a good battle and the good news is that both of these guys are going to help us tremendously. I cannot wait for Gopher Basketball 2011-12.