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Gopher Basketball Returner Roundup: Michael Hurt

The veteran forward looks to cap off his Gopher career with a solid senior season

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The Basics

Forward Michael Hurt is the only four-year non-walk-on player on the 2019-2020 Minnesota roster. From Rochester, Minnesota, Hurt was a mid-level recruit out of John Marshall High School ranking 216th in his class and joined the Gophers along with another local stand-out in Amir Coffey. Coming into his final season in maroon and gold, Michael stands at 6’7” and weighs 220 pounds while wearing the #42.

What Happened Last Season?

Hurt provided limited support off the bench at both the power forward and, when in a real pinch, center, playing in 14.9% of the team’s available minutes. His averages included 1.7 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game. While Michael lacked the ability to create his own shot and the athleticism to guard on-ball with sustained success, he was a heady player who knew the importance of positioning and the team-defense concepts. He rarely took bad shots despite only converting on one three-pointer throughout the entire season (on thirteen attempts).

While lacking the athleticism of many of his peers, Hurt still contributed on the offensive side of the ball with proper positioning, smart passing, and sound fundamentals. This led to a 102.2 offensive rating which was ahead of the likes of Isaiah Washington, Dupree McBrayer, and Brock Stull, players on last year’s squad with more playing time but less positive an impact on the quality of offense generated.

What Can We Expect This Season?

Hurt will continue to be a steady presence on and off the court as a senior captain of the 2019-2020 Gophers. Due to the lack of depth in the front court, Michael will continue to see minutes at the power forward spot on a intermittent basis and may be called upon to fill more gaps than he was last year when considering the injury to Eric Curry.

If one squints really hard, it is possible that Hurt might get a few more open looks from the three if the newly acquired guard depth of the roster can generate penetration and kick to open shooters. If this is the case, he may be able to finally display the shot that so enticed Gopher fans and manifested itself during his sophomore campaign, the 2017-2018 season, to the turn of 42.9% from three-point range.

No one will mistake Michael as a 25 minute-a-game key cog for the 2019-2020 edition of Minnesota basketball but it is possible that he will be essential to maintaining team morale and being a steadying presence for the younger players on this roster. In today’s day and age of college basketball, fewer and fewer players make it to year four within the same program they began their career. Hurt’s presence on this team will not go by completely silently this season and I suspect there will be a big moment or two before his career comes to a close.