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Minnesota Basketball Recruiting: Gophers Officially Sign 2017 Recruits

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NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Indiana Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This week is the NCAA’s early signing period and the Gopher Basketball team has officially signed on two guards to their 2017 recruiting class. We have spoken about these two players in the past and will give you a brief recap of what they are going to bring to the Gopher program but first here was the official release on these two. For the first time Coach Pitino is allowed to talk about them.

The Players

SG - Jamir Harris

Harris is a combo guard who is ranked 12th nationally at that position among Class of 2017 prospects by 247Sports. He is rated fourth among all Class of 2017 prospects in the state of New Jersey by ESPN.com. The 180-pound Harris competed for the NJ Playaz EYBL team, where he averaged 11.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game in more than 30 minutes per contest, while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range.

“I believe Jamir is one of the top 3-point shooters in the country,” Pitino said. “He is a competitor, an extremely hard worker, and a tremendous person. He comes from a great family and he will be a terrific addition to our basketball program.”

PG - Isaiah Washington

Washington is a four-star prospect according to several publications and consensus top-100 recruit, and is a pass-first point guard who can create offense. The number-one rated point guard from the state of New York and 13th nationally according to Scout.com, he averaged 17.5 points and 6.8 assists per game this past summer playing for the New Heights AAU program on the Under Armour Circuit this summer. Among his accomplishments was sharing most valuable player honors at the Elite 24 All-American Game, scoring 36 points in a showcase that matched him up with and against some of the nation’s top prospects.

“From day one, we set out to get Isaiah as our point guard, and we are excited that we did that,” said Pitino. “He is a dynamic player, loves the game, and is a lot of fun to watch on the court. We feel both Isaiah and Jamir will make an impact on our program right away when they arrive next year.”

2017 Impact

With the Gopher backcourt only losing Akeem Springs after this coming season these two incoming freshmen will have to earn their minutes from someone else. Nate Mason is going to be your starting point guard and Dupree McBrayer is going to be your starting SG. But these two will be counted on as key reserves.

And if one or both come in and their play demands more minutes, maybe even starting games, then they will likely be given that role. From the Gopher’s perspective it is nice that you have two talented kids coming in who aren’t coming in expected to fill a void.

Washington is the higher rated recruit and he’ll probably benefit from a year to back up Mason at the point. He’ll play significant minutes without having the pressures of being the starting point.

Harris will also be a key guy off the bench and his minutes will allow him to gain his shooting stroke while playing a much faster and more physical level of basketball.

The problem is going to be front-court depth more than backcourt. These two will be very welcome additions and I look forward to their contributions next Fall.