The 2019 Class is largely wrapped up for Gopher hoops with Bryan Greenlee committing last week, but it is time to look ahead to the 2020 class and who the Gophers are targeting.
This is a prime time for college basketball recruiting with the summer AAU circuits in full swing. The best of the best are facing off against each other each weekend around the country and college coaches are zeroing in on who they are pursuing most vigorously.
The Gopher staff will have 3 scholarships to play with in this class and whomever they add will be joining a pretty talented roster with only 2 players graduating. Here are some potential or likely Gopher targets for this 2020 class.
So what are the needs in this class? With 4 scholarships you can really bring two guards and two frontcourt players. But if we need to be more specific the Gophers really need three things.
1 - A dynamic playmaker who can contribute immediately. This 2020-21 team is going to be pretty talented and deep. Adding one guy who can come in and make an immediate impact as a freshman might take this from a top 25 team to a top 15 caliber team capable of beating anybody.
2 - Power Forward. We are OK in the frontcourt but thinner at power forward. There is an opportunity for a freshman PF to come in and start immediately.
3 - A point guard. Marcus Carr is the team’s true point and he is just a sophomore but getting another ballhandler is critical in this class. This might be less of a priority with the signing of Greenlee, but he is such an unknown that adding another point wouldn’t be the worst idea. Under Pitino the Gophers have not had two reliable ball handlers on the roster at the same time.
4 - Get another shooter. I want a shooter with that 4th spot. You cannot have enough of them and by the time this guy gets on campus, Kalscheur will be a junior.
The Minnesota Kids
This 2020 class of Minnesota kids is stacked with 7 players ranked in the 247 Composite top 247, with 4 kids in the top 100. Which of these guys the Gophers are prioritizing? I don’t necessarily know but here are the top local kids in this class.
Top of the list is obviously the guy ranked 11th overall in the class of 2020. In recent years players of this caliber have paid lip service to considering the Gophers, what makes me think that we have a shot with Suggs? First of all, he has the Gophers mentioned as one of three teams who are currently frontrunners. Secondly, there is a chance that he wants to also play football at the next level.
Those three frontrunner teams are Minnesota, Gonzaga and Marquette. Notice that the other two don’t have football? Suggs reportedly has a very good relationship with PJ Fleck, which helps.
Other schools are still pursuing him with vigor and he isn’t exactly down to a “final three.” But having the Gophers mentioned as a frontrunner at this point is encouraging.
Remember just above when I said they really need a dynamic playmaker to take that 2020-21 team to another level? He’s that guy and if he’s sold on such a thing, Minnesota makes really good sense.
This is the recruit that many on the TDG staff covet the most. Garcia is a perfect fit for the Gophers in terms of need, style of play and his strengths. A top 25 player who could come in to start at PF immediately and make a huge impact. The Prior Lake kid has options and offers from Texas, Baylor, Xavier, Arizona, Marquette and pretty much the rest of the Big Ten.
A skilled 6’11” and really an ideal player for Richard Pitino’s offense. Garcia shot up the rankings over the last year and one could argue he’s a more important get than Suggs.
(I think we should just grab both of them and win a conference title)
Now we get to the athletic Dainja who makes the third Minnesota player in the top 50 of the country. Might be tough to land both Garcia and Dainja as they player similar positions Dainja would be a huge get if he were to pull the trigger and commit to the Gophers. A rebounding and shot blocking force who would be more in the mold of Trevor Mbakwe.
You can see Dainja playing this winter up at Park Center leading the Pirates. Currently in the recruiting cycle, it appears as though there is less interested between Minnesota and Dainja, but things change rapidly this time of year and things are not always as they “appear.” A recent visit between the two was encouraging.
Yes, another big local man. Yes, another kid in the top 100. Carlson plays for East Ridge and the likely competition for landing him look to be Wisconsin, Northwestern, Stanford or Xavier. Carlson would likely be more of a center than a PF and could certainly play alongside Garcia or Dainja. Averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds as a junior.
Carlson has good skills and as he adds size to his frame, he’ll end up being a really nice Big Ten player. This would be a really nice addition due to his size and ability to play PF or C.
Recruiting is a little slower for the Eastview center, Crowl. He has offers from Iowa and Colorado. But his recruiting stock is rapidly changing. Visits pending with Wisconsin and Minnesota. Currently neither have officially offered Crowl, but that may chance in the next week or two.
Currently ranked as a top 150 player by 247, Crowl is the 5th ranked player in Minnesota but clearly a talented and sought after big man. Center is not exactly an area of need but you don’t turn away local top 150 players, especially when rivals are offering him.
How does this one play out? Well, if he is offered, he very well may commit. And then we begin to figure out the numbers and the staff can laser in on the 2 (or 3) guys they want above all else.
Guard/forward who plays for Mayo and recently received a Gopher offer. Madsen also has offers from Virginia Tech and Marquette among P5 programs.
Here is a Hopkins guard with a Gopher offer along with Purdue, Nebraska, Kansas St, Baylor and Creighton. Walton would be a really good fit for the Gophers. He stands at 6’4” with length and athleticism. Really may be able to be a combo guard who can handle the ball as well as be a solid shooter added to the roster.
To be honest, if Walton is the third or fourth member of this class, I’m thrilled. Athletic, flexible, shooter who would likely be great depth early in his career before becoming a major contributor.
The Other Kids
The Gophers are in great shape with a number of local prospects, but as usual they are casting a wider net. Here are a few other names that are being pursued (with less commentary).
Jamal Mashburn Jr.
Yes, he’s the son of that Jamal Mashburn and the Gophers have been pursuing him for quite a long time. We offered him last June and he visited campus last October. He’d come to the program as a point guard who is very adept at scoring from the point.
His father, played for Rick Pitino and the families remain close. Absolutely worth keeping an eye on this one.
A Texas point guard being recruited by Kyle Lindsted. Long took an official visit last September and remains on the Gopher radar.
Power forward from Milwaukee who has a ton of offers. No visits that I can find, but he has offers from so many major schools. His recruitment should start to focus in the next couple months and we will see where the Gophers fall on his radar. Considering we are targeting (and offering) so many big men who are local, I would guess he is not their primary target.
Seems destined to land at Marquette or Iowa, but this Wisconsin guard is being pursued by the Gophers.