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Minnesota hires Ben Johnson to be the Head Men’s Basketball Coach

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Xavier v St John’s Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Minnesota is expected to officially announce Ben Johnson as the next head coach of the Men’s basketball team.

Johnson, 39, was most recently a top assistant at Xavier. In his career, he has been an assistant coach at Nebraska, and was one of Richard Pitino’s top assistants from 2013-2018 at Minnesota. Johnson played basketball for the University of Minnesota, where he was a two time captain. He is considered to be a strong recruiter with many ties to the local community.

I will admit to finding this a strange hire a bit out of left field. Ben Johnson has no head coaching experience, so there is no film to evaluate or consider his philosophy towards basketball. The obvious justification for the hire is that Johnson will be an excellent recruiter. He was a major part of local recruiting while an assistant at Minnesota, and supposedly retains strong links with programs in the state. Given the plethora of talent within the borders, that is a positive.

The obvious perceptual negative is that Johnson has never been a head coach at any level of college basketball. For those who were not fond of the Richard Pitino hire, this has a similar look if you squint.

We at TDG do not care about winning the press conference. We care about winning basketball games and doing so in the right way. We hope Ben Johnson will be able to do that.