Thorson: "I'm just so thrilled be here. To be home and be part of his program and his vision is unbelievable."

BleedGopher

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per Marcus:

After three years away coaching with an old friend in college, Thorson wasn't going to return home unless he found the absolute right fit. And then came the day last month, when the Gophers hired Ben Johnson, Thorson's old pupil, as their new coach.

"I had no idea the stars would align like this," Thorson, 55, said Thursday after being introduced as Johnson's assistant. "I'm just so thrilled be here. To be home and be part of his program and his vision is unbelievable."

Thorson's passion for coaching, teaching the game and preaching defense first rubbed off on Johnson at DeLaSalle during the first of those Minnesota record nine state championship runs for the Islanders.


Go Gophers!!
 

GoodasGold

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These guys are bringing AAU ball to the U! 👍
 

everybody knows my name

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Wow, to hear those two talk about their excitement and their regard for each other is inspiring.
 

Seany

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He's a good coach, and given his many years of experience, I expect he'll provide a real counter to the inexperience of Ben Johnson. It's always good to have that wise and wily old guffer (think the non-drunk version of Shooter from Hoosiers, heh) on staff for an inexperienced coach, and I am really pleased to have Thorson on board.
 

MplsGopher

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Understands that on this job, where others failed so much this requires a top 3 conference defense.
Honest question:

if it really is so easy on paper ...... just play great defense .......... then why doesn't everyone do that??
 

60's Guy

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Honest question:

if it really is so easy on paper ...... just play great defense .......... then why doesn't everyone do that??
1. It is hard work ...flat out. 2. There are a limited number of coaches with the belief and ability to motivate a team to push through to the other side. 3. It ain’t sexy. Other than a blocked shot defense rarely makes ESPN top plays. 4. You still gotta score. That requires talent. Finding the right recruits is harder than it would seem.
 

Plausible Deniability

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Great staff addition! Should be a great complement to BJ's coaching skills and the obvious recruiting chops
 

GopherJake

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Great staff addition! Should be a great complement to BJ's coaching skills and the obvious recruiting chops
Agree. If they can sort out their roles appropriately (recruiting/practice prep/practice coaching/game prep/in-game coaching) where they complement, rather than clash (read: DT needs to understand he is NOT the head coach), it could be a perfect match. Uh, yeah, no $hit Sherlock, right? Point is, the coach is now an assistant to his former player, who is younger - this could be a problem. I certainly don't know. Good that DT has been an assistant prior at D1 level for sure. And for all I know, this isn't a problem whatsoever. Built?
 

builtbadgers

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Agree. If they can sort out their roles appropriately (recruiting/practice prep/practice coaching/game prep/in-game coaching) where they complement, rather than clash (read: DT needs to understand he is NOT the head coach), it could be a perfect match. Uh, yeah, no $hit Sherlock, right? Point is, the coach is now an assistant to his former player, who is younger - this could be a problem. I certainly don't know. Good that DT has been an assistant prior at D1 level for sure. And for all I know, this isn't a problem whatsoever. Built?
Not a problem. Dave is really smart and loved this opportunity and made a decision to leave a position he loved to be here. aThis will take time but this will be the best staff that plays it clean in a very long time.
 

builtbadgers

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Honest question:

if it really is so easy on paper ...... just play great defense .......... then why doesn't everyone do that??
WH]\hy are some people just vastly superior at evaluation and teaching. It takes huge character to work that hard.
 

builtbadgers

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1. It is hard work ...flat out. 2. There are a limited number of coaches with the belief and ability to motivate a team to push through to the other side. 3. It ain’t sexy. Other than a blocked shot defense rarely makes ESPN top plays. 4. You still gotta score. That requires talent. Finding the right recruits is harder than it would seem.
Great post. I have dozens of examples of players in a particular program where the freshman said after day one of practice that they did not know how they could get through 4 years of this. Because practices are grueling. They should be harder than games, they are drill intensive and by nature require incredible conditioning. You should never have to look back and think you lost because the other team was in better condition. It requires tremendous mental and physical toughness. We used to ask kids if they thought putting the ball in the basket was the objective to the game. When they said yes, you would tell them they are right but then that equation was incomplete as that would by definition mean that stopping the other team from doing so was at least as important. The other benefit is that it wears the opponent out mentally and physically. Thorson buys this because he saw the coaches I am talking about it, saw them teach it and marvel at it. He teaches it and over the years I have had several long conversations with him about it.
 

GopherJake

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The other benefit is that it wears the opponent out mentally and physically. Thorson buys this because he saw the coaches I am talking about it, saw them teach it and marvel at it. He teaches it and over the years I have had several long conversations with him about it.
This tells me that development and playing time of the 9th, 10th and beyond guys will increase, so as not to put a guy like Marcus Carr - extremely skilled, hacked on for his D - on the floor for less time. Benefits are that when on the floor, as much energy can be expended on defense as offense, less opportunity for injury (on the floor less, less tired when on the floor- tired players make for increased injury chance), of course, development of a competent bench, which will help weather foul and injury situations and finally, year-to-year improvement of individuals and overall team.

I assume you agree that Dick Pit was piss poor at bench development. (And in the age of "hey transfer whenever you want for free," this brings special challenges.) But, should I assume you think BJ and DT will put emphasis on bench dev?
 

watertown 1987 guy n

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Really like the addition, solid defensive minded coach. I’m curious what kind of relationship he had w Minnesota coaches and AAU programs. I’d guess he is pretty well connected but have no knowledge of it.
 

short ornery norwegian

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And one thing about defense - if you are slated as the #9 or 10 guy on the roster, one way to earn more playing time is to bust your butt to become the best defensive player possible. That is what the coaches need to sell to the players.

"you want more playing time - play better defense."

Not everyone can be a Vinnie "Microwave" Johnson type and provide instant offense off the bench. But, in general, almost anyone with a reasonable amount of athletic ability can become an effective defender, and maybe get opportunities to play when the team needs to stop or slow down the other team's top scorer.
 

manderson1984

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Honest question:

if it really is so easy on paper ...... just play great defense .......... then why doesn't everyone do that??
I’ll add some things beyond hard work. There is a cerebral part of this too. Omersa works hard, but lacked the cerebral side. Very few coaches combine and are willing to put defense first along with the ability to get/recruit groups where all 5 players at a time are that in tune. Just like you run offense together to gain continuity, that same approach needs to be done on the defensive end.
 

Go Gophs

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Not a problem. Dave is really smart and loved this opportunity and made a decision to leave a position he loved to be here. aThis will take time but this will be the best staff that plays it clean in a very long time.
How do we know this?
 

formerlybis

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Understands that on this job, where others failed so much this requires a top 3 conference defense.
This conference is consistently very, very good defensively - 10 teams finished in the top 45 out of more than 350 teams according to Kenpom. Interestingly, neither Iowa nor OSU were among them. Just pointing out two things: 1) that the word "requires" is a bit strong - you can be successful being great offensively to offset a lesser defense; and 2) top 3 in this conference means being in the top 5% of teams in the country - it's doable, but it might be hard to pass some of the other more established defensive minded programs right out of the gate. Top half may be more realistic, which is still top 10% nationally.
 
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