The 2017 Recruiting cycle was a light one for the Gopher basketball team as they only had 2 open scholarships. Those scholarships were taken by a couple of talented East Coast guards who will contribute right away next Fall. But up next is the 2018 class and the Gophers have some extra time to spend focusing on filling the 5 open scholarships for this class.
Much like the 2017 class, the state of Minnesota has some very talented players locally. None of the 7 local kids in 2016 who signed with a P5 school signed with Minnesota, partially due to focused attention on other players and partially because those players just decided to go elsewhere.
But this upcoming class is equally as talented and this time around the Gophers have more scholarships to work with. Can they keep some of the 4 and 5-star talent in town this time around? Before I get into the names, let me say that what we saw in the Gopher’s win over St. John’s was exactly what the Gopher program needed if they want to land some of these talented local kids.
Amir Coffey exploding for 30 points against a P5 program and the Barn erupting in support of the 4-star, legacy recruit who stayed home is exactly what was needed. Not just because it happened, but because there were a number of local recruits in attendance. Tre Jones, the 5-star point guard brother of Tyus was there. Power forward and rising in the rankings, Jarvis Thomas was there. As well as 2019 5-star Matthew Hurt and 2020 5-star guard Jalen Suggs. Those are some really big names who are going to have legit offers from most any program they want to attend.
Then the Gophers played a truly entertaining game, beat a couple of guards from St. John’s who are very talented and most importantly the local kid who could have gone elsewhere had a monster game with 30 points (over 32% of the team’s total points).
Maybe...just maybe...they witnessed how fun it would be to stay home and lead a talented Gopher team that could make some national noise. Let’s meet the 2018 recruits who are on the radar of the Gopher staff.
Currently this stands to be the biggest area of need. The 2017 class will bring in a PG and a SG, plus you have Coffey who plays the perimeter, but by the time this 2018 class gets on campus Lynch and Konate will be gone with Murphy in his final year. Based on needing a big man and having some scholarship imbalances, I really expect that the staff will try to bring in a JUCO big. But those names will not surface for several months.
C - Daniel Orturo
High School: Cretin Derham Hall
Offers: Kansas, Baylor, Memphis, Providence, Georgia Tech, mid-majors
Orturo is a tough and active center. Currently a 4-star recruit across most services, he stands at “only” 6’9” but clearly has the skill-set of a center. I have zero concern that he wouldn’t be able to translate that to center at the collegiate level. Orturo had a very productive summer and saw his recruiting take off. Worth noting that the Minnesota was the first high-major program to offer.
From Ryan James at GopherIllustrated.com, “Daniel Oturo is arguably the most important recruit on this list. The 6-foot-9 and growing explosive long armed big gets better by the minute. He has a non stop motor that has also helped earn him a four star ranking.“
PF/SF - Race Thompson
High School: Robbinsdale Armstrong
Offers: Iowa State, Arizona State, Marquette, Northwestern, Nebraska, Kansas State
Thompson is a 4-star recruit and certainly a top target for the Gopher staff. The thing with Thompson is that his father is former Gopher great running back and first round draft pick, Darrel Thompson. This does not guarantee anything, it should be noted that his sister played Volleyball for the Badgers (WTH Darrell?). But
He is a big kid with a great athleticism and the skill set of a guard. Thompson has played the point and shooting guard for his AAU team. But he has the body of a Big Ten power forward. Imagine a lineup with a 6’8” Thompson playing SF and 6’7” Richard Coffey playing SG. Minnesota was also the first high-major program to offer Thompson as well.
PF/SF - Jarvis Thomas
High School: Orono or Tartan
Offers: Iowa State, Oregon State, Marquette, Northwestern, Nebraska, Kansas State
Another local kid who had a huge summer and saw his recruiting take off. Thomas is a super athletic kid who will need to refine his skill set a little bit, but there is time to work on and develop this. He currently does not have a Gopher offer.
C - Adam Trapp
High School: Esko
Offers: Iowa, Purdue, (not Minnesota at this moment)
Trapp is a 7’2” big man who is playing for a small school in northern MN. Excels at rebounding and blocking shots, as you’d expect a 7’2” kid to do. Currently the Gophers have not offered Trapp, but he is a player to watch this year and next.
PG - Tre Jones
High School: Apple Valley
Offers: Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Minnesota
The younger brother of Tyus and this younger Jones brother will have his pick of schools to attend as well. A 5-star recruit and top 25 nationally, Jones is a big fish to land. Can the Gophers convince him to stay? Conventional wisdom says that it is unlikely, but seeing Coffey thrive and seeing this team turn a corner would certainly help.
Point guard is a key position to recruit in this class because Washington will be the only true PG on the roster in 2018. Jones is would be a program changing recruit were he to stay here.
SG - Gabe Kalscheur
High School: De La Salle
Offers: North Dakota and Northern Iowa, for now
Kalscheur is a 6’4” shooter who as a sophomore at De La Salle averaged 20 ppg. A three-star recruit who should see his profile rise if he has a good junior season for the Islanders.
There you have your 6 local names to watch in the class of 2018. Six talented kids who will be saught and signed by high major programs. Of course the Gophers won’t land all of them and in reality they may pursue kids from other parts of the country that they think will be a better fit or more successful in their program (see McKinley Wright this year).
They do have offers out to kids around the country as well. We’ll talk about them in depth down the road. But the six names listed above are all very good ones to land.
My personal prediction, based on nothing more than my own personal opinion, is that we sign Thompson, Kalsheur and Orturo. Jarvis Thomas is a mystery who we haven’t offered yet, I’m not sure if Trapp will get a high-major offer and I’ll assume that Jones goes to Duke.
Never too early to start looking ahead to 2018, especially considering the 2017 class is wrapped up.