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Minnesota Basketball: 2017 Gopher Hoops Recruiting Update

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The roster for next year's Gopher basketball squad is still potentially in flux.  With the Kevin Dorsey transfer, there is potentially one available scholarship for next year.  I'll kick off this post with what we actually know about next year's roster before I get into our open spots and what are the options.

What We Know

At least what we think we know as of the date of typing this out.

  • 1 Scholarship available to be used right now if the staff so desires
  • 1 or 2 scholarships available to be used for 2017, depending on what the staff does with Dorsey's vacant scholarship





Charles Buggs F SR


Gaston Diedhiou F JR



Davonte Fitzgerald F JR



Bakary Konate C JR



Reggie Lynch C JR



Nate Mason G JR



Dupree McBrayer SG SO




Jordan Murphy F SO




Ahmad Gilbert G SO




Amir Coffey G/F FR





Eric Curry F FR





Michael Hurt G/F FR





Scholarships Used





Scholarships Available





So what does that mean?  Well the staff has a choice to make right now with one current scholarship available.  They could choose to use it and add to the 2016 class of Coffey/Hurt/Curry.  If they added to the current class it could be a an incoming freshman, it could be a JUCO player or it could be a grad transfer.  But the interesting thing to factor in there is that there is only 1 scholarship currently available for the next recruiting class.  Charles Buggs is going to be the only senior on the team.  And the 2017 crop of local recruits is actually very good with several Minnesota kids projected to be going to a power 5 program.

So the idea of banking the Dorsey scholarship for 2017 is really pretty good idea considering the staff needs to balance out the classes and there is a nice group of players in their backyard.

So back to the current options...

Option 1 - sign a high school senior.

This gives makes the 2016 class of incoming freshman a class of four.  Usually this late in the recruiting game when you add a high school senior you are getting either at-risk kids or kids who were hoping to get better offers from a program desperate to add to their class.  Occasionally you get luck and land a Jordan Murphy who became available when Shaka Smart left VCU for Texas last Spring.

In my opinion this would not be the preferred option.

Option 2 - JUCO

Ryan James at Gopher Illustrated has mentioned that the staff has been in contact with Tim Coleman, a JUCO PG out of Lee Community College in Texas.  This would give us one more backcourt player, which we will probably need next year.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of going the JUCO route in this case.  There are already 5 scholarship juniors on the roster and I don't want to see nearly half of our scholarships used up in one class.  That could get worked out over time, but assuming Dorsey is the only transfer I'd rather his scholarship not be used on a JUCO.

Option 3 - Grad Transfer

This would be a great idea.  This is becoming more prevalent in today's college basketball.  I'd love to see the staff find a current junior who is transferring and has graduated, meaning he can play immediately, he would be a senior and the scholarship is still available for 2017.  This is the best-case-scenario in my opinion.  Names?  Milwaukee's Akeem Springs is visiting this weekend.  Springs decided to transfer after the Panthers fired coach, Rob Jeter.  He was the team's second leading scorer and rebounder last year.

I've heard no other names at this point (total speculations...perhaps DeVon Walker?  A former Billy Donovan recruit who may have been recruited while Richard Pitino was still on staff?).

Here is a list by ESPN attempting to track all of the college hoops transfers.

Option 4 - Bank it for 2017

Why? Because we need scholarships for 2017. This plan would also be acceptable to me.

2017 Recruits

As I said there are several Minnesota kids who are getting looks and offers from P5 teams.  I'll start with local kids and then move on to other 2017 recruits on our radar.  Remember, currently 1 or 2 scholarships available.  Would be great if there were three available here but right there are likely going to be 2 in this class.

F - Gary Trent Jr - Apple Valley

The son of Gary Trent and the younger Trent has plenty of options.  He is a 5-star recruit and it has appeared all along like the staff knows he isn't going to stick around here.  Offers from everybody.  Kentucky, Kansas, Duke...if a school hasn't offered, they'd take him.  Most have assumed Ohio State is the front-runner here but who knows.  He isn't going to be a Gopher and I'll be thrilled to be wrong.

C - Theo John - Champlin

A big man who the Gophers have been all over for a long time.  With just the one available scholarship they didn't offer right away but he has one now.  John also has offers from Iowa, Marquette, Illinois, Nebraska and Texas Tech with Michigan State and Wisconsin very interested.  I would say that the chances of John being a Gopher are good.

PF/C - Nathan Reuvers - Lakeville North

6-10 big man who had a very nice junior season where he saw his offer list grow.  One of those recent offers is from Pitino and he also got one from Wisconsin.  The rest of his offers are from mid-major type schools. Just the fact that Wisconsin has offered and we have so few to work with makes me nervous.  His emergence this winter makes this coming 2017 class and the decisions that will have to be made very interesting.

Reuvers, Trent Jr and John are the only local kids who actually have Gopher offers.  Trent Jr isn't going to happen and I doubt they would use their only two scholarships in this class on big-men.  Very interesting decisions indeed.

PF - Goanar Mar - De La Salle

6-7 Islander who the Gophers have seen play plenty of times. Xavier, Iowa State, Nebraska and Illinois have all offered.  Not the Gophers yet.

PG - McKinley Wright - Champlin

Teammate of Theo John and a very good player who is a little on the short side.  But Illinois has offered along with Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Dayton.  I would think that he is close to an offer but this may be a case of the staff hoping they get someone they like more even if he comes from another state (which is the right decision if they believe another kid is better or a better fit).

PG - Brad Davison - Maple Grove

Davidson has offers from a few mid-majors as well as Nebraska with a Wisconsin offer possibly coming.  Probably behind Wright in terms of the scholarship pecking order but he also has had a very good junior year to up his recruiting profile.

PF - Jericho Sims - Cristo Rey Jesuit

Big man who plays against lower-level of competition but is seeing more offers come his way.  Auburn, Nebraska, Texas Tech, UNLV and Virginia Tech.  Again, probably a little further down the list for the Gophers who have just a couple to give.

PG - Ishmael El-Amin - Hopkins

No offer from the Gophers for the son of Khalid El-Amin.  He has several high-major schools keeping a sharp eye on him but so far it is mostly mid-major offers (plus Texas Tech).  He'll be an interesting on to watch during the summer.

Like I said...several local kids who are going to be playing for major programs. But the staff is working outside of Minnesota as well, looking to find the best bang for their buck with limited scholarships available this year.  Here is one name to watch outside of the Minnesota boarders.

PG - Darius Perry - Georgia

Perry is a four-star who is seeing interest really pick up but his only actual scholarship offers are from Minnesota, Florida State, Wake Forest, Texas A&M and Xavier.  Scouting report mentions his toughness, ability to make an impact on both ends of the floor and describes him as a true point guard.

Plenty of other offers out there but nothing that stands out as substantial Gopher interested right now.

Reading the Tea Leaves

I think the staff finds a grad transfer to fill the Dorsey void, hopefully a guard.  Then they will have 2 scholarships to work with for next year.  Those two will be taken up by Theo John (or Reuvers) and either a guard from out of state or McKinley Wright.  If another scholarship opens up I fully expect Reuvers and John will be Gophers plus a guard.

With 5 scholarships available for the next cycle, the sooner they can warp up the 2017 class the better.  Achieve a little success this coming season, wrap up 2017 early and you have a LOT of time to bring in a really nice 2018 class.  Easy right?