John Shipley: Gophers’ Richard Pitino has built a good team, but the blueprint isn’t sustainable

BleedGopher

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per Shipley:

But Pitino hasn’t changed the narrative, either. After seven-plus seasons, he has not been able to offer anything more to homegrown recruits than hometown allegiance. Wherever they go, they’ll start. His teams have made two NCAA appearances (one win), finished with one winning Big Ten record and won an NIT championship. Otherwise it’s been either dull or ugly.


Go Gophers!!
 

Block M

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I was waiting for someone to post this. The formula to win at MN is exactly a mix of in-state, well-scouted OOS, and transfers, so it has to be sustainable.
 

builtbadgers

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The only way to win and sustain it is to have great coaches, they are the only ones who do it. Many in state kids do not even have the Gophers as their favorite team. Great coaches find players wherever they can find them to build teams, build the program.
 

cjbfbp

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I was waiting for someone to post this. The formula to win at MN is exactly a mix of in-state, well-scouted OOS, and transfers, so it has to be sustainable.
Yes, there's nothing wrong with his current recruiting strategy and I don't see why the strategy itself wouldn't be sustainable. It's essentially the same strategy that worked very well for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. I'm not convinced yet that Pitino Jr. is the right coach to implement and sustain this strategy. If he can get us to the tournament this year (and hopefully accomplishing something there), I think he deserves at least one more year to try.
 

USAF

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Yes, there's nothing wrong with his current recruiting strategy and I don't see why the strategy itself wouldn't be sustainable. It's essentially the same strategy that worked very well for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. I'm not convinced yet that Pitino Jr. is the right coach to implement and sustain this strategy. If he can get us to the tournament this year (and hopefully accomplishing something there), I think he deserves at least one more year to try.
Those are some realllllly thick maroon colored glasses, friend.
 

short ornery norwegian

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The problem or issue with building your team around transfers is that you need to keep bringing them in.

If you build with HS recruits - and you do it well - you can build a base where you might have to replace 2 or 3 seniors in a given year, but you still have a core roster of underclassmen who have been recruited and developed in your system. If you have one year where you miss on a recruit or 2, it doesn't have to cripple the program.

if you are going to base your system on transfers, you need to keep bringing in transfers who can step right in and play. If you have a year where you don't land those transfers - and you don't have that base of underclassmen to fall back on - then the program can go in the sh*tter in a heartbeat.

it's like walking the tightrope - one slip and you're Karl Wallenda.
 

builtbadgers

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Yes, there's nothing wrong with his current recruiting strategy and I don't see why the strategy itself wouldn't be sustainable. It's essentially the same strategy that worked very well for Fred Hoiberg at Iowa State. I'm not convinced yet that Pitino Jr. is the right coach to implement and sustain this strategy. If he can get us to the tournament this year (and hopefully accomplishing something there), I think he deserves at least one more year to try.
Just a difference of opinion. I do not seeing it being all that great at Iowa State. They never won the conference,really not close. Plus he had a NBA career so he could recruit transfers pretty well . I want transfers but they will not be the core of a championship program. Thrilled to have Carr and Robbins but we will not always get them. More elite programs will be looking at those guys more than ever before.
 

macgopher

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Isn’t the future going to mean a lot more transfers for teams in power conferences?
 

EG#9

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This is a "water is wet" paragraph from Shipley. The only thing that's not factual in that paragraph is that Pitino has built a "good" team this year. The jury is still very much out on that and I would have said that before they dropped below .500 today.

He needed to find 3 starters last Spring. It took Conroy having a 7 foot nephew and a relaxing of the transfer rules due to the pandemic to have an answer at C this year. Imagine what this team would like without just one of the Robbins/Johnson/Gach trio. There isn't a single player on the roster who could step in and start for one of those guys without a dramatic drop off.

Iowa State has to go the transfer route. Nobody wants to go there. There teams during the Hoiberg years often did not have a single Iowan. There transfers also had to sit out, so the talent on the roster for the following year was known. The would have a DeAndre Kane sitting and waiting or one of the transfer guards they got from Michigan State. They weren't going out in the Spring and hoping to find starters for the following Fall. Now to be fair Iowa State has (though multipled coaches spanning decades) been very loose with who they allow in to school. That is the one advantage they have (though some of their Big 12 rivals also do that).

There is no issue with Minnesota taking a transfer or two. The issue is the top end recruiting has completely dried up after Oturu. The best two recruits of the Pitino era have been Oturu and Coffey (from a ranking perspective) and both are now in the NBA. He hasn't recruited or developed another pro. He's literally 0 for his entire tenure on lowly ranked recruits developing in to good players (or you could even argue solid players). Look at the roster now: who is going to become an above average B1G starter? I think most would agree that the most likely option would be Jamal Mashburn Jr. Coming in to today, Mashburn Jr was shooting a horrific 33% from the field and 22% from 3 as a small shoot first lead guard with average to slightly above average athleticism.

Built thinks the recruiting is fine, but he's (IMHO) looking at it through the prism of Gard and Bennett. Yes, if Gard or Bennett was coaching this team it would have enough talent to do well. Pitino isn't that level of x's and o's coach, I think that's quite obvious. He needs to make that up by either being better at recruiting blue chip talent, being better at evaluating under the radar kids, or being better at developing guys once they get on campus. He's clearly not getting it done in any of those areas either. That's how you get to THIRTY FIVE games below .500 in conference play. It's not just poor X's and O's that get you that bad, you are failing at the recruiting piece too.
 

builtbadgers

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Have to be much better at evals, establishing a culture and playing great defense.
 

LakevilleBro

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EG had a great post and he made this comment about Pitino.

He needs to make that up by either being better at recruiting blue chip talent, being better at evaluating under the radar kids, or being better at developing guys once they get on campus.

After 8 years as the Gopher coach, it is really difficult to change these things. It is almost like asking someone to change their personality. He has had a long sample size and he is who he is. If you like him great, but he is unlikely to change these deficiencies.
 

EP Gopher

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He has not shown the ability to: develop players, secure the state’s top talent, develop a culture, manage in game adjustments.

How can we lose talent to Wisconsin?! That’s frustrating. I can see losing to Duke, other blue bloods....not Wisconsin.
 

EP Gopher

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Football and basketball are different obviously but PJ has developed many of these elements in less than 1/2 the time
 

WhoFellDownTheGopherHole?

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I don't know why they don't have it, they're not necessarily "soft" so to speak, but this team seems like it needs some testosterone. Other than Carr on his big nights, this team has no swagger. Zero. Ever. Some of that feels like it starts with Pitino, whether he can do much about that or not. Where else besides Marcus is there an Alpha on this team?
 

builtbadgers

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This is a pretty good team but like all teams this is a very difficult year. Basketball is a smaller part of it than ever because of covid. Practice and games are the only contact they get. Hell , we are lucky. I know one team that lost 30 practices ! The isolation and empty arenas are not something they signed up. The whole campus is a place with no energy. These guys are giving all they can. My worries are less about the team and more about the program.
 

Otis

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The model is sustainable if they have a certain level of success.
 

golf

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The problem or issue with building your team around transfers is that you need to keep bringing them in.

If you build with HS recruits - and you do it well - you can build a base where you might have to replace 2 or 3 seniors in a given year, but you still have a core roster of underclassmen who have been recruited and developed in your system. If you have one year where you miss on a recruit or 2, it doesn't have to cripple the program.

if you are going to base your system on transfers, you need to keep bringing in transfers who can step right in and play. If you have a year where you don't land those transfers - and you don't have that base of underclassmen to fall back on - then the program can go in the sh*tter in a heartbeat.

it's like walking the tightrope - one slip and you're Karl Wallenda.
100%. Pitino needs to find himself an ace recruiter. This is the anchor that is a drag on the program.
 

die hard gopher

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Regarding it being sustainable or not, Robbins and Gach both 3 years of eligibility left, even without the new rule, they would still normally have two years left anyways.

If we were to have gotten a top 50 recruit like Dawson Garcia, we probably only would expect him to be here for two years anyways before he leaves for the NBA, like Coffey and Oturu did. Well Liam is actually playing better than Dawson and we will likely get the same amount of years out of him. Same with Gach, I know he's had a few bad games recently but overall, he has been a solid starter and double digit scorer as a first year guy here. Thats what you would expect from a top 50 recruit and you are getting the same number of years as you would expect from a top 50 guy.

So even if we start to recruit better and start landing those top 50 guys like Dawson, Zeke, Reid Travis etc. if they end up being as good as you think then they likely aren't going to be here for any longer than an impact transfer like Liam and Gach.
 

Biggsohnasty

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This was my belief over the offseason so this isn't exactly new...Pitino just did exactly what he had to do and he's got a potentially job-saving roster.

It felt at the time like he was flying by the seat of his pants a little bit and he'll probably have to do it again this spring when Carr leaves and who knows who else is out the door.

Recruiting the transfer market is not going away. And I think it's incredibly valuable when it comes to buying a coach time. Getting a guy like Brandon Johnson is never not going to be useful because, in theory, he gives you a year to develop a younger guy behind him (or in a perfect world, the younger guy plays his way into major minutes - like Ihnen here which isn't happening).

Getting a transfer gives you a parachute in case your underclassmen aren't ready for a big time role, or it allows them to progress at a slower rate than if they were thrown to the proverbial wolves.

But as Built said, it still comes down to player development. They've got to develop guys because expecting to recruit three transfer starters every offseason is unsustainable. The problem is that I can't tell if the staff is bad at developing HS talent, or bad at evaluating HS talent - though it might be both.
 

60's Guy

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I don't know why they don't have it, they're not necessarily "soft" so to speak, but this team seems like it needs some testosterone. Other than Carr on his big nights, this team has no swagger. Zero. Ever. Some of that feels like it starts with Pitino, whether he can do much about that or not. Where else besides Marcus is there an Alpha on this team?
For me, Mutaf had swagger. Coffey had some swagger. Not thinking of anybody else. It is a deficiency it seems.
 

builtbadgers

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For me, Mutaf had swagger. Coffey had some swagger. Not thinking of anybody else. It is a deficiency it seems.
Maybe not swagger but something i like more is toughness, something i see growing. Still very optimistic. Lose to Michigan the conference is over. Beat Michigan and we are heading to 13-7-14-6
 

Atl Gopher

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All 4 losses had a great deal in common. Competitive for a while then they seem to lose confidence. I was really down on Pitino after the Iowa loss, because I felt that I had seen this movie 3 times before and I would have thought he could come up with a solution.

Then Michigan completely destroyed the hated Badgers. The Big Birds south of Minnesota are a top 4/5 team. The new normal for road games has got to be difficult for young men wanting to have some fun too. I get all that, but after all these years wouldn't be nice for those teams to be talking about the Gophers that way.

I am still cautiously optimistic about this season in terns of us having a good record and maybe taking one or two games in the hopefully happening NCAA's. Fleck to us to brink of elite in 2019 and beating Auburn on January 1st. I just not sure if Richard is the coach to take us to elite.
 

builtbadgers

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All 4 losses had a great deal in common. Competitive for a while then they seem to lose confidence. I was really down on Pitino after the Iowa loss, because I felt that I had seen this movie 3 times before and I would have thought he could come up with a solution.

Then Michigan completely destroyed the hated Badgers. The Big Birds south of Minnesota are a top 4/5 team. The new normal for road games has got to be difficult for young men wanting to have some fun too. I get all that, but after all these years wouldn't be nice for those teams to be talking about the Gophers that way.

I am still cautiously optimistic about this season in terns of us having a good record and maybe taking one or two games in the hopefully happening NCAA's. Fleck to us to brink of elite in 2019 and beating Auburn on January 1st. I just not sure if Richard is the coach to take us to elite.
Suppose it depends on elite and how each person defines that. I look for 6 or 7 years in a row above .500 in the conference, at least one conference title and year after year in the top 4. That will get you a bunch of better seeds which year after year you do that then tournament runs are inevitable. Even "runs" are hard to define. The media and fans will use a run to the sweet 16 as a run. I do not as that is two games !
 

60's Guy

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Maybe not swagger but something i like more is toughness, something i see growing. Still very optimistic. Lose to Michigan the conference is over. Beat Michigan and we are heading to 13-7-14-6
I agree, if we lose to Michigan at home we are trending the wrong direction.
Almost gotta go 4 and 0 to close out January to be in a good spot (or 3 and 0 if no Nebraska).
We have shown we are capable and we have had a week to prepare. Big game for the Gophers!
 

Otis

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MN needs to recruit only ‘smart’ players to win games.
I've never seen a player break out an abacus or a calculator before shooting a three. You can play smaht basketball all day long and lose consistently if your can't shoot.

The biggest problem with this particular Gopher team is, I have yet to see them impose their will on the opposition and make them play their game. Whatever that may be.
 
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