A centerpiece of Ben Johnson’s introductory press conference was a change in recruiting philosophy.
That got us here at TDG thinking, “What exactly is a Minnesota dude?” As is customary in such situations, we convened a round table.
What defines a “Minnesota dude” to you?
GopherNation: I’ve been beating the drum of wanting a coach who has a specific system and a very specific style. Hiring a coach who hasn’t been a head coach means that we don’t know what his system is, yet. But I want that system and a team with a very specific mentality of each team. It is THAT mentality that will be a “Minnesota Dude.” Whether it is some intangible toughness or a “smart” team...this will be vague and undefinable.
GoAUpher: Much like how I can’t quantify Nekton by pointing out a specific player, but still manage to use the jargon anyway I expect Minnesota Dude to be something fun we all throw around to mostly mean “Gophers player that we like.”
Gopherguy05: A male basketball player who represents the University of Minnesota and may or may not be a native of the State of Minnesota.
UStreet: A person with an unhealthy skepticism of outsiders. In a basketball context, a player who has a potent blend of lunch pail and scoring ability.
Existentially speaking, do you have be from Minnesota to be a Minnesota dude?
GopherNation: No. At first I was taken back when people were suggesting that Jordan Murphy was a “Minnesota Dude.” He’s not from here! But also, if we have a team of Jordan Murphys and that becomes the identity of a Ben Johnson team, I am A-OK with that. So no.
GoAUpher: No, Minnesota Dude is a state of mind. Kind of like being The Dude. And if you disagree?
Gopherguy05: No see definition above.
UStreet: No, amusingly given the prickly nature of Minnesotans, the Minnesota Dude ethic is stateless.
Who is the quintessential Minnesota dude?
GopherNation: I’m going to go with Gabe Kalscheur and Jordan Murphy (sorry, I went with 2). Guys who are technically sound, smart basketball players and while they have some athleticism, that’s not how you’d define them. Smart, very good defensively and uses every ounce of their potential.
GoAUpher: GN got their first, but I think Gabe is a great example. Al Nolen feels like he would have been a clear Minnesota Dude under Ben Johnson as well.
Gopherguy05: Blake Hoffarber is one that comes to my head.
UStreet: To avoid recency bias, from the state of Minnesota: Kevin McHale. From outside the state of Minnesota Bobby Jackson.
Wild speculation time: what style of play works best with a group of Minnesota dudes?
GopherNation: I’m not sure if this is what I think Minnesota kids fit this mold or if this is just the mold that I want to see, but I want a team that really wants to play defense. Toughness on the defensive end, a mentality that defense is how we win. On offense a team that moves the ball, passes great, takes great shots and makes them.
GoAUpher: A winning one. /fingers crossed
Gopherguy05: I prefer the ones that can put the orange ball in the round hoop thingie consistently.
UStreet: With apologies to Nolan Richardson, 40 minutes of hell on defense.