Late last week Gopher basketball grabbed their first commitment in the 2016 class with in-state forward Michael Hurt wanting to stay home and play for the Gophers.
Very honored and blessed to announce that I will further my education and play basketball at the University of Minnesota〽️ #GOPHERNATION— Michael Hurt (@BballNvrStops42) January 17, 2015
Hurt is currently a junior forward at Rochester John Marshall. At about 6'6" he will bring to the program a smooth shooting stroke and good handles for one of the forward positions, likely more of a perimeter player.
This Rochester Post Bulletin article gives a good feel for Hurt and why he chose the Gophers over other offers from Northwestern and Nebraska as well as strong interest from Stanford and Vanderbilt.
In the end, Hurt - also a stellar student - picked the place that felt most like home when he visited there. That was Minnesota.
"I went up there (to Minnesota) several times, and compared to the other places I visited - being around the (Gophers) coaches and players - it felt the most like home," Hurt said. "That and I really like coach Pitino. He's a young guy who knows what he's doing and he plays a style that I think suits me - very uptempo."
He has come a long way and over the last several months has really seen his recruiting stock rise.
"It's kind of a surreal feeling," the 6-foot-7 forward said. "If someone had told me three years ago that I'd be going to the Gophers I'd have laughed at them. I was just hoping back then that some smaller schools would be in there, recruiting me."
But he is having an outstanding senior season for JM while leading the Rockets with 23 points per game as well as eight rebounds and three assists while hitting 45% from three. ESPN ranks him 59th overall in the 2016 class and a four-star prospect while Rivals gives him three stars and top 150 nationally. Best case scenario we have an elite shooter ala Blake Hoffarber with some good length and court awareness to make him valuable on both ends of the floor.
So we have our first 2016 commit and the available scholarships is little murky with recent loss of Josh Martin and likely loss of Daquein McNeil. But this is where we currently stand (I am removing McNeil as it seems rather unlikely he will be counting against our scholarship limit again).
There are currently five seniors coming off the books and four incoming freshmen which would theoretically leave us with one scholarship for the current 2015 class. Then we lost McNeil and Martin giving us three more to use now if we want and five to use over the next two years. Hurt eats up one of those, and I would expect those remaining four largely be used in the 2016 class. Probably a safe bet that we will pursue a JUCO player to come in next year, but I I'd be a little surprised if we added another incoming freshman. Confused? Me too.
Welcome aboard Mr. Hurt, we are looking forward to seeing you in a couple years.