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Minnesota Basketball Recruiting: Every Local Recruit Who Signed With Gophers Since 2002

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The narrative that Minnesota does not recruit the State of Minnesota well is wrong.

Thomas Joseph-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota did not land any of the top recruits in Minnesota this year. As a consequence, there has been a lot of griping by fans that Minnesota does not land Minnesota recruits. As this is a #NARRATIVE that refuses to die, here is a comprehensive list of every single Minnesota based recruit that was ranked by Scout who was signed by Men’s basketball since 2003. In future comment threads, if anyone brings up this narrative link to this post. You'll be right and give us additional page views.

Some notes on this data. I used Scout's rankings by recruiting class. The 2002 class started in 2002 and so on. For most of the early 2000s, the Gophers were on scholarship restrictions which greatly limited their competitiveness in recruiting. Monson’s successes and failures at Minnesota came with an additional handicap, so it is fair to say that most of this period was not normal. In addition, the transition years of any program are likely to be fraught for recruiting in both directions. When a new coach comes in who has won a national championship and previously coached Kentucky, recruiting should improve irrespective of the overall direction of the program. Likewise, when a program comes off a 9 win season we should assume the opposite.

Finally, this chart explicitly does not show scholarship restrictions for each year. There are a few reasons for this. One, scholarship restrictions should mean additional targeting by a staff for recruits. If you only have two scholarships to hand out, then a rational coach will prioritize targeting the best possible player at the highest position of need. If you have 6 scholarships to hand out, then you may pursue a combination of strategies. Two, it’s somewhat difficult to find that information for prior years. Three, the #NARRATIVE that annoys me is that the Gophers do not get Minnesota players, not that they only get one per year. Consequently, this chart should not be read as a total but rather as a proportion of years.

Year Player Ranked
2002 No One No One Ranked in the State
2003 Kris Humphries Yes
2003 Dan Coleman No
2004 Spencer Tollackson No One Ranked in the State
2004 Jonathan Williams No One Ranked in the State
2005 Brandon Smith No One Ranked in the State
2005 Jamal Abu-Shamala No One Ranked in the State
2006 Bryce Webster Yes
2007 Blake Hoffarber No
2007 Al Nolen No
2008 No one Jared Berggren was the only ranked recruit in State
2009 Royce White Yes
2009 Rodney Williams Yes
2010 No One Kevin Noreen was the only ranked recruit in State
2011 Joe Coleman No One Ranked in the State
2012 No One No One Ranked in the State
2013 No One No One Ranked in the State
2014 No One Pitino did not have time to establish relationship with any recruits
2015 Jarvis Johnson Yes
2016 Amir Coffey Yes
2016 Michael Hurt No
2017 No One Pitino missed on top recruit and chose to not recruit the other top two

Minnesota produced no ranked Scout recruits in a third of the sample years. Admittedly other services rank differently, but taking this same exercise with other services puts the Gophers in a better light. Dan and Joe Coleman were ranked by other services, as was Michael Hurt.

Certainly the Gophers have not hit on every elite recruit, but that is not because Minnesota does not recruit well in state. That fact is because the Gophers have frequently been a bad basketball team over the last 15 years. It remains unclear whether that will continue this year. The team has a lot of talent on paper, but development of talent is an question mark. If the Gophers make the tournament next year and want a recruit, the odds are good that he will wear Maroon and Gold.