What a difference a few months can make! After being struck with the news that Jarvis Johnson would not be able to play basketball for the University of Minnesota due to medical reasons, the 2015 class had lost some of its luster. There hadn't been much good news coming out of the basketball program. Sure, there were plenty of positive vibes about the trip to Spain the team took but the roster was full of uncertainty and the 2015-2016 season appeared to be one of rebuilding and low expectations.
Enter September 21st and 23rd. In the matter of three days, Pitino and company scored two huge recruiting wins in the form of local combo guard prospect Amir Coffey and power forward Eric Curry yielding from Arkansas. More can be read about Coffey here and here. But this particular piece will focus on the newly committed Curry. Listed at 6' 8" and 210 pounds, Eric provides a welcome addition to the Gophers' front court of the future. Just think, in two years, Pitino will be able to throw out athletic PF after athletic PF. Gaston Diedhiou will be a more experience junior. Davonte Fitzgerald and Reggie Lynch will be eligible to play and will most certainly get plenty of minutes in the rotation. Jordan Murphy will have a year of college ball under his belt. Add to that a player of Eric Curry's caliber and Pitino will be able to run other teams' bigs into the ground by sending waves of lengthy, athletic forwards capable of disrupting passing lanes while still representing scoring threats on the offensive end of the court.
More Top 100 Commits!
More Top 100 Commits!
Here are a few quick reasons why I think this commitment is a big deal
- Eric Curry's decided between Minnesota and Arkansas. Arkansas is coached by Mike Anderson who runs what has been fondly referred to as "40 minutes of hell," a style of play that reflects constant defensive pressure and an up-tempo offensive attack (Arkansas ranked 13th in the nation in tempo last year, according to KenPom). If Arkansas was recruiting Curry hard, you know he'll be a perfect fit for PItino's preferred style of play. The fact that we stole a recruit from his home state team that fit their system well and that the Arkansas program is nothing to sneeze at is a great indicator that Pitino is continuing to extend his recruiting prowess.
- This commitment will almost certainly catapult the Minnesota 2016 recruiting class into the top 20 in the nation according to 247. With a highly ranked recruiting class comes talent, exposure, and positive notoriety. All great things to have for a Minnesota program that really needed all three of those things after the last few months.
- Curry appears to have decent touch around the basket and isn't just a raw offensive talent. If his abilities within 8 feet of the hoop can transfer to the college game quickly, he could develop into a special player for the Gophers.