Gophers roster construction-expectations vs. reality

coolhandgopher

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.
 

upnorthkid

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i mean personally i'm really pleased with the 3 he's landed. i really doubt he walked in the door and said f you to all the old guys. guys wanted to look elsewhere which is totally fine/fair. if the roster comes together and it's a shit show, yeah Ben will have to deal with that. but this is a solid start of guys who can contribute for the year and he's going to put his head down and bust his ass to recruit. he has to or he won't be long for this job because the ease of firing him is going to be exponentially easier if the teams suck shit every year. These guys that he got all showed ability against their competition. They all seem to compete hard and seem like smart guys. That gives you a veteran core. I'm excited to see what else he lands. Is this team going to contend? No probably not. But may they surprise? Definitely. We see it every year where a veteran team comes together and competes to win games they shouldn't, much more so than goes the other way. In addition, might work better in Ben's first year to have a good number of guys who this isn't their first rodeo.
 

skiumah1

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Excitement is building for next year -- I like the additions. There are a few posters, and they seem to post a LOT, that are always negative, but I'd say the vibe has improved a lot since the day Coyle announced the hire.
These additions have definitely helped. I like all the additions with Battle as the stand out. He could be a star scorer. That's exactly what the thought was when Ben came in, to get guys like that, so it's only been positive for me so far.

I really have no problem with any of the guys that entered the portal, other than I would like Gabe back. It's a culture shift, changes gonna happen. It would hurt to lose Johnson or Robbins though. I'd still be pretty impressed if he was able to keep both of those guys.
 

Mulligan

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.
Thanks. Well thought out, unlike some of the juvenile B.S. cheap shots at guys who don't deserve it. (Showing again why you're one of my favorite posters.)
 
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College basketball is going to have its own Lake Superior St. That school won 3 NCs in 7 years and finished runner-up in another. They did it with older players and forever changed NCAA hockey.
Looking like Gophers will be 22-23 years old. A good thing probably.
 

gophereric30

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.
Great post. I like the guys we got and were not done. Some people on here are gonna be haters no matter what happens. We are starving for good shooters and we've gotten a guy who has shot 45% from 3, but now they're ripping the pickup. Cant please everyone. I like the newcomers and now give me race! Then I will be excited.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.

Great post - best I've seen on here in a long time - I was thinking some of the same things, but wouldn't have articulated it nearly as well as you did.

It's his program, so I'm going to be excited by who stays and wish best of luck to those who choose to leave.

Mid major guys have repeatedly shown they can compete: Michigan's starting PG was from Colombia, right? I remember one other mid major transfer who was a significant contributor for another Sweet 16 team (Arkansas??).

I'm looking forward to more team oriented ball, including better D. Set the tone next season for how the program moves forward.

Also, he approves -

1617447914503.png
 

Bad Gopher

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Good points all around, and yes, let's welcome these guys to the family. They've chosen the U of M, and we need to appreciate that.

I like the commits so far, averaging 16+ PPG is not easy to do, even at a lower D1 level.

My chili is starting to bubble.
That's what I keep thinking. The guys can put the ball in the basket, which isn't easy at any level. I like the looks of both of them. If Johnson can coach team ball and get guys open looks, then they should be able to succeed here.
 

Gopherfan12

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It’s all about having scholarships available for 2022 cause that class is absolutely loaded. He needs to get at least 2 of the top guys from that class hopefully 3. Mix in some transfer guys this year that can actually SHOOT the ball and I’m happy.

my dream scenario would be 4 out 5 or all 5 of those guys that are first listed at the top. Not sure how realistic that is but nice mix of guards in there and forward/power forward. A guy can dream right 😜
 

bc2211

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Maybe these guys bring it, but historically stats dip when transferring up in leagues. Meanwhile every other major conference team is losing guys to transfers but we aren’t pulling any of them in. I’m not opposed to the guys we’ve signed individually, but I’m not expecting all conference performers. In a sense, BJ may have to coach these guys up, and we have no knowledge of how well BJ leads and coaches a team.

If the new players think this perspective is dismissive and are affected by it, then well, maybe we need to hire a young assistant coach to connect with them.

Lastly, it’s difficult to form an opinion in real time with so much newness. I’m entirely in observation mode and will start forming opinions once we see them play. I’m sure more than one of these guys will impress and will become favorites for good reason. Some will disappoint. I also have no expectations for win totals in year 1 - I just want to see BJ put something on tape that he can sell to bigger fish coming out of high school.
 

oldrodent

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.
I really appreciate this post. Well written.
 

goldengophers

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Maybe these guys bring it, but historically stats dip when transferring up in leagues. Meanwhile every other major conference team is losing guys to transfers but we aren’t pulling any of them in. I’m not opposed to the guys we’ve signed individually, but I’m not expecting all conference performers. In a sense, BJ may have to coach these guys up, and we have no knowledge of how well BJ leads and coaches a team.

If the new players think this perspective is dismissive and are affected by it, then well, maybe we need to hire a young assistant coach to connect with them.

Lastly, it’s difficult to form an opinion in real time with so much newness. I’m entirely in observation mode and will start forming opinions once we see them play. I’m sure more than one of these guys will impress and will become favorites for good reason. Some will disappoint. I also have no expectations for win totals in year 1 - I just want to see BJ put something on tape that he can sell to bigger fish coming out of high school.
BJ also needs to grow into this job, having established transfers will allow him to experiment with strategy with veteran players.
 

cjbfbp

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So, as the two commitments came in today, preceded by Battle's earlier in the week, I've seen a degree of snarkiness towards the construction of the roster, to this point by Coach Johnson. There's a few points that have emerged in my mind:

1. I'm perplexed by the dismissiveness shown by some posters towards the players who have chosen to join the Gophers next season. No, there have not been any Top 150 recruits joining the team yet, but the three players joining the roster all scored over 15 ppg this past season, are veterans, and at least in the case of Loewe, have bonafide recognition on the defensive side of the ball. These look like three solid additions to a team, lead by. . .

2. A first-year coach who is starting with a roster almost from scratch. I could be wrong, but the only Gopher from last year who has publicly expressed that they are solidly on board for next season is Ihnen. Robbins and Brandon Johnson are hopeful returns and I'm assuming Gach is a sure thing to return, but I figured the one guy who'd be back without a thought would be Kalscheur, so I'm not putting any player into the returnee category until that player confirms. I have to think all three of our transfers would have solid other options, so I'm quite happy with Coach Johnson convincing them to take a leap of faith with him, especially in the case of Loewe and Stevens, who I believe will be completing their eligibility next year at the "U".

3. I'm also really confused by who some of the posters are expecting to land on campus. Take a look at Marreon Jackson's list of suitors-this mid-major point guard is being courted by a host of schools, including several that made the tourney this past season. UNC's Walker Kessler, who didn't start a game and averaged 8 minutes a game, is purported to be bound for Gonzaga. If it isn't Adam Miller or Dawson Garcia (who's not even in the portal) arriving on campus, are the players dismissed as unworthy of attention and support?

4. I've witnessed the Gophers go through four coaching transitions in my lifetime (Johnson will be #5). With every transition, players came in, often unheralded and provided a level of stability to the transition:

1986 (Dutcher/Williams to Haskins): We were fortunate that the trio recruited by Dutcher of Willie Burton, Melvin Newburn, and Jim Shikenjanksi held to their commitment with Clem, but Haskins supplemented that freshman class with Richard Coffey, who as we all know was a former paratrooper and a bit older than his peers and juco guard Kim Zurcher.

1999 (Haskins to Monson): Most of the roster carried over from the Gangelgate season, except for those exhausting their eligibility and Kevin Clark and Kevin Nathaniel. Monson also benefitted from holding onto the recruits Michael Bauer and Kevin Burleson and the juco transfer John Blair-Bickerstaff. As memory serves, JBB was particularly important after Pryzbilla left the team and emerged as a leader his two seasons on the team. Look at JBB's stats and the team he was coming from at Oregon State--I doubt anyone could have predicted the impact he would have on the team in Monson's early years.

2007 (Monson to Tubby): Al Nolen and Blake Hoffarber came onto the roster as freshmen and I believe they were continuations of Monson's recruiting. There were no recruits added that season, but Lawrence Westbrook and particularly Damien Johnson took big leaps forward from their prior seasons as Gophers--with Johnson in particular, it was as if a new player was added to the team.

2013 (Tubby to Pitino): DeAndre Mathieu and Malik Smith came on board and supplemented a veteran team towards the NIT title (which of course was a bit of fool's gold to how the Pitino era would go).

5. Coach Johnson's construction of this roster, from what I can see thus far, makes a lot of sense. Bringing in veterans, whether with one or two years of eligibility, allows for several roster spots for the Class of '22, which as has been recognized as a deep roster of prospects within the state of MN. Knowing that Stevens, Loewe, and Kalscheur (assuming he returns) are moving on after next year would seem to be an attractive selling point to the likes of Tre Holloman and Eli King. Bringing someone on board such as KyKy Tandy (who very well could still come to the "U", who knows?) might clog the lanes for Johnson's vision of remaking the roster within a year or two.

I would also like to think that having veterans coming up from mid-majors to the Big Ten will result in a squad that what may lack in NBA potential will translate to savvy, hard working players with a chip of their shoulder wanting to prove they belong at this level. A group that could really set a tone of what a new coach wants to establish year after year in the program.

6. Second to last point-post '97, one of my favorite Gopher teams is the 2004-05 squad, the only team in Monson's tenure to make the NCAA tournament. Monson had a lot of talent come through the program, but that team didn't boast much of it. They did have a dynamic juco guard in Vincent Grier, but the others were a senior center who was a former walk-on (Jeff Hagen), an undersized senior point guard who had barely played his first three seasons (Aaron Robinson), a local transfer from St. Francis who was a walk on starter (Brent Lawson) a juco power forward who gave up several inches to most Big Ten opponents (J'Son Stamper) and a trio of green freshmen (Dan Coleman, Spencer Tollackson, and Rico Tucker). (Jordan Nuness was a sophomore and Ryan Saunders a freshman on that team also, although both played sparingly). Grier was the only consensus Top 100 recruit coming out of high school and he busted at his first stop.

I don't expect next year's team to make the NCAA tournament, but if they could show 80% of the heart of that '04-05 squad, it would be an excellent start to the Ben Johnson era.

7. Final point-I just find it to be BS disparaging the guys who are coming on board-I stated it already in point #2, but these guys are taking a chance--while none of them may be able to walk onto any Power 5 roster, I am quite certain that each of them could find a roster spot with an established coach in a power conference or high level mid-major, at worst. Instead, they're buying into Johnson and the "U" for their final year or years of their competitive basketball lives. They're going to put in the hours and sweat and likely some lumps next season-they are going to be an important bridge to the next era of Gopher basketball, no matter if their time with the program is only a year.

You've said some good things in your post, for sure, but I think you overstate the complaint. For the most part, I think people are pretty happy around here with Ben's pickups so far. Something else that's very good is that he was able to pick up these three quality veterans in comparatively little time. That gives reason for optimism that he will be able to fill his additional roster needs with players of reasonable quality in perhaps a shorter time than expected.

Trying to achieve perfect consensus and eliminate criticism and snark on an internet message board is a fool's errand. It's also a bit fascist. Also, if everyone agrees with you, then there's nothing to fight about. Hell, that's half the reason I come to this site!
 

MplsGopher

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Just keep something in mind: people on here were falling down happy over the addition of Robbins, Gach, and Johnson to the roster for this past season. NCAA tourney bound, for sure!

Well ... just sayin'.

Not a criticism of anybody really. You're allowed to be excited about whatever you want, whenever you want. But always good to keep perspective.
 

Holy Man

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College basketball is going to have its own Lake Superior St. That school won 3 NCs in 7 years and finished runner-up in another. They did it with older players and forever changed NCAA hockey.
Looking like Gophers will be 22-23 years old. A good thing probably.
I think true, but we have an example next door to the east that leans the opposite. Old players this year didn't lift them up as high as they might have expected. Talent matters, too.
 

cjbfbp

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I think true, but we have an example next door to the east that leans the opposite. Old players this year didn't lift them up as high as they might have expected. Talent matters, too.

Well, I guess that's true but you also could say that age and experience kept them higher than they might have been without those things. They did beat the hell out of UNC in the first game of the tournament. They lost handily to Baylor, of course, but that team only has 2 losses so far and likely will be either the national champion or runner up.
 

cjbfbp

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Just keep something in mind: people on here were falling down happy over the addition of Robbins, Gach, and Johnson to the roster for this past season. NCAA tourney bound, for sure!

Well ... just sayin'.

Not a criticism of anybody really. You're allowed to be excited about whatever you want, whenever you want. But always good to keep perspective.

Well, I think with the exception of Gach over the latter part of the season those players delivered and performed better than any freshmen likely would have. I wouldn't say that happiness at the time of their commitments was misplaced.
 

MplsGopher

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Well, I think with the exception of Gach over the latter part of the season those players delivered and performed better than any freshmen likely would have. I wouldn't say that happiness at the time of their commitments was misplaced.
Wasn't the OP comment in regards to BJ's new players referring to the new transfers?

I wasn't talking about incoming freshman.
 

MNVCGUY

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You've said some good things in your post, for sure, but I think you overstate the complaint. For the most part, I think people are pretty happy around here with Ben's pickups so far. Something else that's very good is that he was able to pick up these three quality veterans in comparatively little time. That gives reason for optimism that he will be able to fill his additional roster needs with players of reasonable quality in perhaps a shorter time than expected.

Trying to achieve perfect consensus and eliminate criticism and snark on an internet message board is a fool's errand. It's also a bit fascist. Also, if everyone agrees with you, then there's nothing to fight about. Hell, that's half the reason I come to this site!
Was going to post something similar. The OPs post is well thought out but I also think that the vast majority of comments about the new players coming in have been positive. The trolls will always be there but there really is no reason for anyone to dislike players that want to come here and play considering we have a number of roster spots that need to be filled.

When any new coach is hired there is going to be a section of the fanbase that decides they hate the decision right off the bat and elects to bash anything and everything that coach does because he isn't who they wanted or he doesn't talk with a southern accent and pretend to be an aww shucks down home country boy....(sorry lapsed into some Kill/Fleck stuff there....)

Johnson is going to have a really uphill battle winning over the fans, because unlike Fleck or even say Tubby Smith when he was hired, there are very few people truly excited about Ben as he wasn't really on anyones radar before he got hired.

So you have those of us that are in the wait and see camp and those that are in the Coyle sucks and this was the worst decision ever camp.

Will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few seasons. On the court it is probably going to be rough next year but the key will be what kind of optimism Johnson is able to create for the future of the program.
 

bc2211

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BJ also needs to grow into this job, having established transfers will allow him to experiment with strategy with veteran players.
True, but I think the transfers will need their own adjustments coming into a completely new roster and system. Completely different than having a veteran group that’s played together. Took a lot of time for Gach and Robbins to find the right pace of play. Neither ever figured out how they gelled in the gopher offense (which is also on Pitino). I could be wrong.
 

builtbadgers

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I think Ben is doing the best he can and i am not going to knock players i know hardly anything about.
 

Stan

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#InBenJohnsonWeTrust

All in.
 

cjbfbp

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Johnson is going to have a really uphill battle winning over the fans, because unlike Fleck or even say Tubby Smith when he was hired, there are very few people truly excited about Ben as he wasn't really on anyones radar before he got hired.

I think that's probably right. Right now, I don't have high expectations and Johnson has one quality that makes me very supportive of him as coach at present: he isn't Pitino!
 

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It’s all about having scholarships available for 2022 cause that class is absolutely loaded. He needs to get at least 2 of the top guys from that class hopefully 3. Mix in some transfer guys this year that can actually SHOOT the ball and I’m happy.
I think you may be overstating the class a bit but we def need Tre, Eli, & Ahjany L. after those 3 the players are redundant. We will have to choose between Saulsberry, Heide, & Prince A.
 
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