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Who would Minnesota protect in a College Basketball Expansion Draft?

If you only can protect five players, who gets left out?

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota
Amir Coffey is an obvious selection to be protected
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday night the NHL Expansion Draft results will be announced as the Vegas Golden Knights will announce their selection from the other 30 NHL teams. The other NHL teams had to place players on a protected list last weekend before letting Vegas choose from the remaining players.

Michael Rand of the Star Tribune decided to take this idea and use it to predict who the other three professional Twin Cities sports teams would protect in a theoretical expansion draft. As a good blogger, I decided “why not do this for the Gophers?” To make it fun, I wanted to try and predict who would be protected from the big three Gophers sports—Football, Men’s Basketball, and Men’s Hockey.

There is lots of strategy to think about when deciding who to protect. Do you protect the highly talented senior who you will only have for one more season, or do you take the less talented freshman or sophomore who may have the potential to be as good or even better? There is no right answer...this is meant to spur discussion. So go ahead and give your lists in the comments below, or tell us where you disagree with our lists.

So here are our predictions on who the Gopher Basketball Team would protect in a theoretical expansion draft.

The rules for our College Basketball Expansion Draft:

You are allowed to protect five players from the roster. You are allowed to select any player who will be an incoming freshman in the fall through a senior on the roster.

Gopherguy05’s selections:

Amir Coffey-G (So)

Eric Curry- F (So)

Nate Mason-G (Sr)

Jordan Murphy-F (Jr)

Isaiah Washington-G (Fr)


Coffey and Murphy are the absolute no brainer selections. Both can score, rebound and would make any team in the country. Nate Mason really impressed last season in earning First Team All-Big Ten honors. As a senior he only has one year left, but he can make that big of a difference for your team. Isiah Washington is the Gophers highest ranked recruit and has potential oozing out of every pore in his body. The potential of having him for four years is just too strong to pass up.

Which brings me to my most controversial selection. For whats its worth to me, I think the potential of having Eric Curry for three years over Reggie Lynch for one is just too much to overcome. Losing Lynch would be crippling to your interior game, but the one year hot might be worth for the extra two years of the peak of Curry’s career. Offensively he might be better than Lynch right now, and while on d of the peak of defense its not even a contest, Curry can keep improving and hopefully grow into his spot. But if you wanted to take Lynch over Curry I couldn’t fault you one bit.

UStreet’s selections:

Amir Coffey-G (So)

Reggie Lynch- C (Sr)

Nate Mason-G (Sr)

Jordan Murphy-F (Jr)

Isaiah Washington-G (Fr)


Coffey: It's possible that he leaves after this year, but is the only player on the roster that I consider to be essential going forward. He can play multiple positions, score, defend, and rebound. He's also a Minnesota kid from the top public school program in the state.

Murphy: Protect the potential All-Big Ten player who cleans the glass. Murphy doesn't have a jump shot and still fouls too much, but his numbers speak for themselves.

Washington: There's zero reason not to protect your best recruit when looking ahead at the future of the program. It helps that he's a PG.

Mason: The best way to protect the future of the program is to win now. Keeping the best returning PG in the BIG helps that cause. Also while Coffey has improved, Mason is the only proven shooter.

Lynch: Reggie Lynch Block Party. More importantly, the Gophers have experience playing without Lynch and it's not wonderful.

Curry and McBrayer are left out. Curry has loads of potential that I'm excited about, but since Murphy will be a 4 year player in college it's less important to protect power forwards. McBrayer is a dynamic scorer, but not as important to the team as Mason or Coffey.

mowe0018’s selections:

Amir Coffey - G (So)

Jordan Murphy - F (Jr)

Reggie Lynch - C (Sr)

Isaiah Washington - G (Fr)

Eric Curry - F (So)


Overall, I tried to balance the composition of my roster in regards to position and class. Balance in these two areas are essential to maintaining a successful program, with a slight preference towards young-ish players and those who can guard multiple positions.

Coffey is a no-brainer, regardless of the length of his tenure on campus. He can do everything well and guard multiple positions. I left off Mason because while I love Nate, I think his lack of improvement in efficiency on the offensive end (33.8% from 3 in conference play) wants me to take the potential of Washington instead. And with the likes of Coffey, Curry, and Murphy on the offensive side, I leaned towards a pass-first point who .

I took both Curry and Murphy because I believe they can both become monsters with more work on the perimeter. Imagine either of those guys in the pick-and-roll/pikc-and-pop with Washington after a summer of shooting 1000 threes-a-day. Not to mention they can switch on screens on the perimeter and guard 3-5 in a pinch.

Lastly, Lynch sneaks in for his shot-blocking and because the team couldn’t be senior-less. The hope would be he could pass on some of his wisdom defensively to Murphy and Curry before his departure. The roster is heavily reliant on a few guys improving their outside stroke but I think both Coffey and Curry could be deadly from three with enough time in the gym and I have seen nothing that would discourage me from thinking they wouldn’t put in the work to make this happen.

Who would you protect?

Try and pick your own group and see if you agree or differ with me. The link to the Gopher roster is here for reference.