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Golden Nugs 5.2.14--Gopher Hockey, Football, Basketball, and Golf News

Links to get you into the weekend!

The Gophers will take on Danny Manning's Wake Forest Squad in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next December!
The Gophers will take on Danny Manning's Wake Forest Squad in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge next December!
Donald Miralle

Gopher Basketball:

As is listed as breaking news up above, the Gophers will play at Wake Forest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday December 2nd.  The Gophers and Demon Deacons have played once in the Challenge before with Wake beating the Gophers in 2001.  The rest of the games are as follows:

Mon, Dec 1 Nebraska at Florida State
Rutgers at Clemson
Tue, Dec 2 No. 21 Syracuse at No. 24 Michigan
Ohio State at No. 8 Louisville
Pittsburgh at Indiana
NC State at Purdue
Illinois at Miami (Fla.)
Minnesota at Wake Forest
Wed, Dec 3 No. 2 Duke at No. 4 Wisconsin
No. 18 Michigan State at Notre Dame
No. 25 Iowa at No. 6 North Carolina
No. 7 Virginia at Maryland
Georgia Tech at Northwestern

Virginia Tech at Penn State

Brent Yarina with the BTN ranks the games. The Gophers/Wake Forest game is 11th out of 14 possible games.

Gopher Football:

The Gopher's Thursday night opener against FCS Eastern Illinois may be a little more interesting.  24/7 reported earlier this week that former Missouri star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and former Kentucky Quarterback Jalen Whitlow are expected to transfer to the school.  Since the two players would be dropping down a division, they would be eligible to play immediately, starting with the August 28 game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Green-Beckham is transferring from Missouri after being kicked off the Tiger football team on April 11th due to several legal issues including marijuana and pushing a girl down a flight of stairs.  He had 59 catches for 883 yards and 12 TDs last season for Mizzou.  Whitlow finished with 1,033 yards passing on 61.6 percent passing with five touchdowns and five interceptions in eight starts for the Wildcats last season. He also added 457 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground.  The Panthers, who went 10-2 last season under former coach Dino Babers (left for Bowling Green) and advanced to the FCS Semifinals have an opening at QB after the graduation of senior Jimmy Garappalo. New Panther coach Kim Dameron coached under Houston Nutt at Ole Miss and several of his assistants, including Nutt’s brother Danny and veteran offensive line coach and Badger scapegoat Mike Markuson are on the EIU staff.

The addition of new features to TCF Bank Stadium continues as the field heating system is currently being installed.

Joe Christenson has a blog update on Gopher target and soon to be Cretin-Derham Hall Senior Jason Cornell who told the Detroit News recently that Michigan State is his current favorite.  Guess better Dantonio gets him then a lot of other schools he could end up at.

Gopher Hockey:

With rumors circulating that we should know within the next two weeks if the Gophers will have any early departures for the pro ranks comes an interesting article on college hockey recruiting tactics. As College Hockey News describes it, "The so-called "Gentleman's Agreement" — an agreement between coaches to not recruit each others players once those players have verbally committed — will no longer be adhered to, according to a discussion at this year's American Hockey Coaches Association Convention, taking place this week in Naples, Fla" Apparently the Gopher coaching staff is at the forefront of this change.  The Gopher coaching staff asked the question be taken up at the convention, and when the coaches were 3 to 1 in favor of keeping the unofficial rule in place, Minnesota and several other larger schools "told the coaching body that it was no longer going to adhere to the agreement anyway, and only abide by the NCAA's Letter of Intent."

Gopher coach Don Lucia explains his viewpoint in the article by stating "I think it's gotten out of hand. There's not only (player) decommitments, there's schools de-committing players at the same time. I'm not sure that's good for anybody, and hopefully we can get back to the point where there's no such thing as a commitment until a kid's a senior in high school. Because what's going on now with ninth and 10th graders — who knows who the coach will be, who knows who your teammates are going to be. And in the long run, it's not good for anyone that all of a sudden kids decommit, or all of a sudden the school no longer wants the player."

Look for this to be discussed more in the future.  Especially as Minnesota has several holes to fill yet in its 2015-16 recruiting class.

Student Season Tickets went on sale this morning at Mariucci, and the first student in line got his tickets bought for him by former Gopher and current Florida Panther Nick Bjugstad who was there in person!

Other Gopher Sports:

The Gopher Men's Golf Team was in 1st place after the first round of the Big Ten Golf Championships in French Lick, Indiana.  As of 3:20 on Friday afternoon, the Gophers had slipped to second place, three strokes behind Purdue as the second round was ongoing.  You can keep up with live scores here.

Gopher Freshman Jose Mendez led after the first round in the individual competition at -3.  As of 3:20 on Friday he still had a one stroke lead on the sixth hole of his second round over Brian Campbell of Illinois.  You can follow the individual competition here.  The final round is tomorrow.

The Gopher Baseball team has a three game series against Free Seafood University in Tallahassee this weekend.  Florida State will be missing pitcher Jameis Winston, yes that Jameis Winston after his now infamous "crab leg incident" this past week.  All three games will be broadcast on ESPN3.

The Gopher Softball team closes out its regular season at Purdue this weekend. The #12/14 Gophers are 36-8 on the season, off to the best start in school history.  They are currently in third place in the Big Ten and will play in the Big Ten Tournament in Evanston next weekend.

If you want to enjoy a nice weather weekend for once, come out Sunday Morning to Lake Phalen in St. Paul where the Gopher Rowing Team will host their only home regatta of the season against Wisconsin. The races are scheduled to start at 9 AM.  Better Dead Than Red!

Finally, the Golden Goldy's were handed out in many categories this past Monday night.  The winners were:

Female Athlete of the Year
Rachel Banham, Basketball

Male Athlete of the Year
Adam Wilcox, Hockey

Female Rookie of the Year
Amanda Zahui B. Basketball

Male Breakthrough Athlete of the Year
David Cobb, Football

Female Breakthrough Athlete Of the Year
Rachael Bona, Hockey

Male Rookie of the Year
Wally Ellenson, Track & Field

Best Female Team

Best Male Team

Best Women's Team Coach
Jessica Allister, Softball

Best Men's Team Coach
Don Lucia, Hockey

Outstanding Student-Athlete Achievement Award
Sara Moulton, Softball
Nathan Condon, Men's Hockey

Outstanding Achievement Award in Leadership and Service
Katherine Windsor, Rowing
Chris Hawthorne, Football

Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship
Rachel Drake, WCC/TRK - Biochemistry
Justin Morinishi, M/GYM - Electrical Engineering

Gladys Brooks and Norman Borlaug Commitment to Academic Excellence Award
Women's Cross Country and Men's Golf

Top Five Awards (top five GPAs for both men and women)
Rachel Drake, CC
Rebecca Dyson, CC
Erica Meyer, Softball
Jessica Plant, Swimming & Diving
Rebecca Rethwisch, CC
Nathan Fortunato, Gymnastics
Mathieu Froment, Tennis
Matthew Jergenson, Track & Field
Corey Mills, Swimming & Diving
Joshua Shupe, Wrestling

Teammate of the Year Award
Jeff Keiser, Chris Lagasse and Michelle Traen (Creative Services and Athletic Communications)

Tom H. Swain Campus Recognition Award
University of Minnesota Orientation & First-Year Programs

Richard "Pinky" McNamara Student-Athlete Achievement Award
Cedric Thompson, Football

Community Service Team Award  
Women's Track & Field/Cross Country, Men's Swimming & Diving

Outstanding Academic Team Award
Women's Teams - Soccer, Tennis
Men's Team - Swimming & Diving, Tennis

This highlight video from the Spring of 2013 and the fall and winter seasons of 2013-14 was put out by the U.  Take a look back and remember several great moments for Gopher sports over the past year!  Have a great weekend and try to enjoy some sun!