With the season upon us next week and a roster full of changes from a year ago. What do we expect will be the rotation for Richard Pitino’s Gophers? So many new faces, here is what I suspect will be the starting lineup along with who will contribute the most off the bench.
This part is pretty easy as the starting lineup is pretty well set. And it looks like this five is pretty well locked into starting.
PG - Marcus Carr
SG - Gabe Kalscheur
SF - Peyton Willis
PF - Alihan Demir
C - Daniel Oturu
This is what was seen in practice, these were the five who started in the Iowa State scrimmage and the starters for the Southwest Minnesota State exhibition game.
Three new starters from a year ago but the good news here is that we have a true point guard and one of the best centers in the conference. Kalscheur is a two-way stud and then we have a lot to learn about Willis and Demir.
Of the starters I think you will see the trio of Carr, Kalscheur and Oturu getting the most minutes. Keeping Oturu out of foul trouble will be very important. Why? Because the frontcourt depth is not so strong.
Here is where things are going to get interesting and the bench rotation may really change throughout the season. So much youth and inexperience coming off the bench, when one or two guys start to figure things out. Here is my project bench rotation guys, in order of who will see the most minutes.
- Tre Williams
- Jarvis Omersa
- Bryan Greenlee
- Isaiah Ihnen
- Michael Hurt
- Sam Freeman
First off the bench will likely be Jarvis Omersa in the front court and Tre Williams in the backcourt. Williams would be your “6th man” but you’ll see Omersa more quickly should Oturu get a couple quick fouls.
Williams is a good shooter who is also aggressive to the hoop. His defense is coming, but he has the tools to be very good on that end as well. Omersa may be one of key questions entering the season. After really not contributing much as a freshman and appearing erratic, his development is going to absolutely key. He will be playing as an undersized center where he will have to contribute greatly in the rebounding department. On the plus side, he will have a distinct athleticism advantage more often than not.
Next is likely going to be Greenlee as your backup point guard. He will see a handful of minutes each half, giving Carr some rest. I really think that Pitino lucked into Greenlee after Greenlee fell through some recruiting cracks. He is going to be a really nice depth guard, at the very least.
Next up is Pitino’s wild card, Isaiah Ihnen. The German forward who has major (MAJOR) upside, but may be a little unpredictable as a freshman. He will likely see some games with just a few minutes and some games where he plays a lot as he is impacting in a positive way.
Michael Hurt, now a senior forward and Sam Freeman will also see minutes but likely not a ton. Hurt appears more confident as a senior and will play as needed, likely will be used as a steadying force and hopefully can hit from the outside. Freeman is raw, but he does come to the program physically ready to compete in the Big Ten. He will need a lot of work on the finer points of his game, but hopefully is a rebounding machine while playing.