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Minnesota Basketball Recruiting Update

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What do the current local commits bring, who are we still chasing for 2018, and who should we watch for 2019?

NCAA Basketball: Vanderbilt at Minnesota
Richard Pitino is having some success on the recruiting trail.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers have been busy on the recruiting trail lately and it’s certainly paying dividends. The program just locked up another big man in Jarvis Thomas, who pairs with rising prospect Daniel Oturu, another local product, for the 2018 class. But with offers and commitments floating around willy nilly, let’s take some time to look at who the Gophers have nabbed and who they have some traction with on the trail in both the 2018 and 2019 classes.

Class of 2018

The Commits:

Daniel Oturu
6-10, 220 | C
Cretin-Derham Hall (MN)

Oturu has seen his stock rise this summer, and he now checks in at #51 on ESPN’s top 100 in the 2018 class. And he hasn’t been shy about trying to get additional local products to commit to the Gopher cause. Oturu is a four-star recruit who can not only rebound, but score effectively from the block as well. Oh, and he can hit a 15-footer. A Howard Pulley product, Oturu fill a key need for the Gophers down low.

Jarvis Thomas
6-8, 220 | PF
Orono (MN)

Speaking of cheerleading, Thomas is the latest commit to the Gophers, and may have been helped by a little side recruiting from Oturu. Thomas fits another huge need for the Gophers down low. He’s another recruit who’s seen his stock rise, and he drew a lot of attention this summer as he grew physically and on the court. A superior athlete and another Pulley product, Thomas is known for his defense and ability to throw down with authority.

Targets:

Tre Jones
6-1, 175 | PG
Apple Valley (MN)

Jones is a national name and checks in at #19 nationwide for the 2018 class. That’s because he can do just about everything. He’s got offers from Duke, UCLA, Oregon and Arizona, among others, but the Gophers are in the mix.

What happens with the remaining two scholarships begins with what Tre Jones decides to do. The younger brother of Tyus is considered a virtual lock to follow in his brother’s footsteps and attend Duke. Should Duke land another point, and Tre decides he doesn’t want a 2-guard system, then things get interesting for Minnesota. Does the allure of playing with his AAU teammates for the local club that is possibly turning a corner while his brother is playing for the Wolves just down the road make sense? Maybe. Not holding my breath, but it’s slightly more possible than it was with the elder Jones.

Gabe Kalscheur
6-4, 180 | SG
De La Salle (MN)

Kalscheur is yet another Pulley product the Gophers are after, and indications continue to be that he’s leaning towards the Gophers. He’s been lights out in AAU ball this summer and has found a groove with Jones, Oturu and Thomas. He’s a major threat from three-point range, knocking down over 40% from behind the arc in this summer’s EYBL.

Eric Hunter
6-3, 165 | SG
Charles A. Tindley (IN)

Hunter is a bit under the radar, given the flurry of commitments recently, but he did take an unofficial visit to campus in June and he has a good relationship with Gophers assistant Ben Johnson. It’s unclear where Minnesota stands with him with Kalscheur’s commitment potentially on the horizon, but he’s worth noting.

Marcus Zegarowski
6’2”, 165 | PG
Tilton (NH)

Zegarowski is a combo guard who can shoot and handle the point and he has seen his recruitment go from mid-majors to high-majors this summer. He’s a strong kid with excellent shooting touch who is up to five P-5 offers. And, did you know? Zegarowski is a brother of Micheal Carter-Williams.

AJ Green
6’3”, 165 | PG
Cedar Falls (IA)

Green is a 4-star point guard out of Iowa who is very likely to sign with Northern Iowa. His father is assistant coach on Ben Jacobson’s staff and all signs point to him being a Panther, despite having significant interest from other Power 5 programs.

Joe Hedstrom
6’10”, 200 | C
Hopkins (MN)

Let’s not forget that landing another big man in this class is not out of the question. Hedstrom has been under the recruiting radar but has had a strong summer and has had the attention of the Gopher staff often. He would be a very good candidate to sign, redshirt and be ready to contribute as a redshirt freshman in 2019. Consequently, he does not currently have a Gopher offer.

Class of 2019

Targets:

Matthew Hurt
6-9, 205 | PF
Rochester John Marshall (MN)

Hurt is the crown jewel of the 2019 recruiting class already, and is high on Minnesota’s list of priorities. Ranked #9 in his class, he’s already got offers from basically every blue blood program you can imagine. But with his brother Michael already in tow, everyone wants to know if that will be a catalyst to maybe getting the younger Hurt to the U.

Josiah James
6’6”, 195 | SF
Charleston, SC

James’ father played for Michigan State with Magic Johnson, which is just kind of cool. James is a very skilled wing who can handle the ball and shoot. There are a LOT of schools talking with the 2019 wing but he has a relationship with assistant coach Ed Conroy and he is interested in the Gophers.