Blake Hoffarber is the Gophers' new go-to guy

Blizzard

Active member
Pretty nice read on Blake from Marcus Fuller-

Blake Hoffarber suddenly has become the go-to guy Tubby Smith didn't know he had.

When the University of Minnesota basketball coach needed opponents to respect the Gophers' outside shooting, Hoffarber delivered. When Smith demanded that his guards throw the ball inside and be unselfish, Hoffarber was the role model. And even when Smith needed someone desperately to crash the boards, Hoffarber grabbed 10 rebounds in a game.

'He did everything but sell soda and popcorn,' Smith said after the junior guard set a school record with eight three-pointers and finished with a career-best 26 points, six rebounds and four assists in a Dec. 15 victory over Northern Illinois.

If Hoffarber can lead the way, the Gophers (9-3) have a chance to better last season's 9-9 Big Ten Conference record — vital to getting a second straight NCAA tournament at-large bid.

That's a lot of pressure to put on a player who has been inconsistent the past two seasons in Big Ten play.

"I'm definitely fine with that," said Hoffarber, who has helped his team go undefeated since he joined the starting lineup Dec. 5 against Brown. "Ever since I was a young kid, I've been the one shooting the big shots for my team. I've shot last-second shots before. Hopefully, I'll be ready to show people what I can do."
The rest here-

http://www.twincities.com/sports/ci_14079157?nclick_check=1
 

Mikie S

Active member
I think the term "go-to guy" is a bit strong. I certainly wouldn't expect the Gophers to just hand the ball to Hoffarber and expect him to do much with it.

I am hoping that the Hoffarber we've seen lately is the one that shows up in the Big Ten this year, and not the guy that shot 25% in-conference last year. We need that 40%-plus from him.

And BTW, if Nolen keeps shooting over 40% of his threes in the conference I will be jumping on his bandwagon too.

And, BTW part-II, another big plus lately has been RSIII hitting the 10-15 footer.
 

akgopher

Active member
I don't know if you can be a go-to guy if you need others to create your shots for you. He's shooting has been lights out, and it seems like the rest of his game elevates when he's shooting is on- especially his passing.
 

GopherJake

Active member
Can't agree with yer police-work there.....

it seems like the rest of his game elevates when he's shooting is on- especially his passing.
I couldn't disagree with you more. Despite his shooting woes last year, Blake still saw an awful lot of floor time last year. It was precisely due to his passing and overall basketball IQ, in my opinion. It sure wasn't because of his defense. He is the best passer on the team and was last year as well, despite his terrible shooting.
 

Juicer

Member
I couldn't disagree with you more. Despite his shooting woes last year, Blake still saw an awful lot of floor time last year. It was precisely due to his passing and overall basketball IQ, in my opinion. It sure wasn't because of his defense. He is the best passer on the team and was last year as well, despite his terrible shooting.
I agree. What Blake lacks in overall athleticism, he more than makes up for in other facets of the game. Last year, while he struggled shooting the ball, his passing and floor presence were assets.
 

figi

Member
I'd like Blake for all he contributes to the team, even when his shots aren't falling. What worries me is the pressure that comes with all this notoriety. A shooter has to be fixed on only making his shot. He doesn't need any extra pressure to distract him. When his shots weren't falling last year, it wasn't because he had lost his touch. Because his shots were falling during the practise shoot-a rounds. I feel he was losing his consentration during the game because of the pressure.

Tubby feels his quicker release is helping him now. I hope so.
 

SelectionSunday

Active member
Westbrook

Lawrence has been my (in recent years) favorite Gopher because he's fearless & because he plays with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, qualities the Gophers have severely lacked in recent years. But if Blake becomes the go-to guy, I have to wonder, would Lawrence accept that OK? I don't think there's any doubt Lawrence wants to be "the man" on this Gopher squad. Nothing wrong with that, but would he be willing to defer a significant chunk of the big shots to someone else?
 

ShowinGoldyLove

Active member
...I have to wonder, would Lawrence accept that OK? I don't think there's any doubt Lawrence wants to be "the man" on this Gopher squad.
Good point.

His answer in the article seemed very P.C.; it was the right answer to give but you can almost see him gritting his teeth while saying it.

I don't think we have a "go-to" guy in any one situation; if we need a guy that can make the acrobatic, driving jumper/runner, I'd give Westbrook the ball. If we can get off a 20 footer from anywhere on the court, I'd pass it to Hoffarber and let him cast it.

They both have shown the ability to hit the Big Shot in the past, and thus I go with the veterans who've "been there, done that" when the clock is winding down.

Not having one surefire "go-to" guy on this team is not a good thing, but at least we have multiple players (Westbrook, Hoffarber, Nolen, Johnson, etc.) on this team that have taken the Big Shot/made the Big Play in the past, and wouldn't "crack" in a close game.

That experience DOES count for something, and shouldn't be dismissed simply because we don't have an All-American to watch go one-on-one with 10 seconds left.
 

GopherJake

Active member
go-to guy or......

I don't think there's any doubt Lawrence wants to be "the man" on this Gopher squad. Nothing wrong with that, but would he be willing to defer a significant chunk of the big shots to someone else?
If LW, who I admire much as you do, wants to be the go-to guy, then he needs to be present for an entire game for once this year. He looks disinterested at times and possibly not on the same page as his teammates (read: argument between he and Nolen). There's a fine line between a go-to guy and a ball hog.

There's no doubt LW needs to step up his game. He has not played consistently this year. We need him if we are to go anywhere. Maybe he needs to follow Blake's example and play *all* phases of the game and not just scorer. The former may even open up the latter as exemplified by BH.
 

Mikie S

Active member
Lawrence has been my (in recent years) favorite Gopher because he's fearless & because he plays with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, qualities the Gophers have severely lacked in recent years. But if Blake becomes the go-to guy, I have to wonder, would Lawrence accept that OK? I don't think there's any doubt Lawrence wants to be "the man" on this Gopher squad. Nothing wrong with that, but would he be willing to defer a significant chunk of the big shots to someone else?
During the broadcast of the last game, one of the announcers said that the Gopher players were very unselfish ... with one or two exceptions. From the context of an earlier remark, it was obvious he was referring to Westbrook as one of the selfish players.

While I don't think LW is selfish, I don't think his game makes his teammates better either. He has shown the courage to take, and make, the big shots ... but let's also say that when he focuses on the basket his teammates disappear from his vision. (I'd also say that Mr Nolen is the other Gopher that gets into that mode occasionally.)
 
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