(Apologies for the extremely long post. I thought about breaking it up but I didn't so get some popcorn...)
Richard Pitino has been with the Gophers for a couple months now and already it is apparent that recruiting is going to be not only a primary focus for this new staff, but it may also be a strength. There are many questions yet to be answered about the Pitino era including but not limited to player development, motivation, ability to teach, game prep, opponent scouting, in-game decision making, in-bounds plays, etc. So far this spring, really the only thing we can judge the new staff on is their recruiting efforts. To date there have not been a barrage of outstanding commitments to the program but the groundwork is being laid, the first impressions from recruits is very positive and the effort by the staff has been outstanding.
The list of recruits being pursued by the new Gopher staff is growing, almost daily and it is filled with high-major recruits with lengthy lists of high-major offers. This staff is casting a wide net, putting in effort to quickly build relationships and isn't afraid to go up against other big name schools.
But as I said, recruiting is going at break-neck speed for the Gophers and I want to break down the efforts into three distinct categories. The first is 2013 recruiting. Considering the staff either lost or passed on Alvin Ellis and Alex Foster, they started with zero commitments to help replace the five open scholarships. So getting some immediate help is certainly a priority. Next, and probably more important, is the recruitment of the local 2014 talented trio of Rashad Vaughn, Reid Travis and Tyus Jones. Lastly the staff isn't making any assumptions about the local 2014 kids and they are pursuing many other top notch juniors because we'll still have scholarships to fill if the big three all turn down the local squad. Many of those other juniors are from the Northeast where most of the staff has plenty of recruiting relationships built.
Let's get into the weeds of Gopher hoops recruiting a little bit...
Following the release of Joe Coleman the Gopher staff has up to two scholarships to play with for 2013 after securing commitments from incoming freshman Daquein McNeil, JUCO point Dre Mathieu and FIU transfer Malik Smith. Typically I get really nervous about signing guys so late in the process because you often end up with guys like Ahanmisi and Chip Armelin far more often than you land guys who are going to be meaningful contributors or starters. With that said, the current staff is targeting some players who are in unique situations who very well may be impact players. The roster is very fluid but as it stands today this is our current scholarship allotment.2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 SR Austin Hollins SG X - - - SR Maverick Ahanmisi PG X - - - SR Malik Smith SG X - - - JR Andre Hollins G X X - - JR Elliot Eliason C X X - - JR Dre Mathieu PG X X - - JR Maurice Walker C/PF X X - - JR Oto Osenieks F X X - - SO Wally Ellenson SF X X X - FR Charles Buggs PF X X X X FR Daquein McNeil G X X X X open open Scholarships Available 2 5 10 11
Here is the look at 2013 recruiting with potentially 2 scholarships available to use right away.
Daquein McNeil was the first Gopher commit for 2013. He attended prep school last year and is a Baltimore native. McNeil is likely a SG who can slide to the point in a pinch, but what intrigues me the most about him is that this is exactly the type of player who is going to fit well into the new system. He is a lanky kid who can defend and offensively is pretty good at penetrating to the paint. Shooting isn't a real strength, but penetrating and defending will go a LONG way towards being productive in Pitino's system.
Dre Mathieu is a JUCO point guard who visited this past weekend and made his decision to be a Gopher on Tuesday. Formerly a Moorehead State walk-on who went the JUCO route in Arizona. Mathieu went from zero offers after a productive high school career in Knoxville, TN to a handful of high-major offers after a year a Central Arizona C.C. The kid is somewhere around 5-9 (maybe taller), can supposedly show off a 360 dunk and is lightning quick. There should be no question about his position on the floor and his ability to get into the paint.
Malik Smith is the latest new guy coming into the program. He will be coming in as a senior, transferring from FIU where he was 2nd on the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game and shooting 36.2% from behind the arc. He is going to be the most familiar with the new offense and should help improve our long-range shooting.
That leaves us with potentially 2 more scholarships to fill and some interesting names who are or were being pursued.
Allerick Freeman is a high profile UCLA commit who backed out after they hired Steve Alford. Coincidentally he committed to Baylor within hours after we learned about Dre Matthieu had committed to Minnesota. He would have been an outstanding get, but since we didn't get him I'm not wasting anymore time on him.
Tariq Black is a PF who decided to leave Memphis with one year of eligibility remaining. This would be an ideal fit for the Gophers and another outstanding pick up. But he is taking his talents to Lawrence, Kansas.
Rakeem Buckles is another FIU guy. By all accounts it appears as though Buckles will be a Golden Gopher assuming he is cleared to play right away. Buckles is a former Louisville Cardinal who suffered two ACL tears and spent the last year rehabbing while redshirting at FIU. He played 3 seasons for Louisville with his best season coming as sophomore where averaged 6.8 points and 6.1 rebounds in just under 19 minutes per game. Considering we need a big man and he wants to be here, I would expect that he'll be a Golden Gopher this fall. It all depends on the NCAA.
Another potential transfer is Derrick Randall, a big man from Rutgers. 6-8, 240 lbs and played just 8 minutes per game last year as a sophomore for Rutgers. Out of high school he had a number of Big East offers, mostly teams from the current Big East, not the new American Athletic Conf teams). He would have 2 years left to play and likely would be allowed to play right away due to what went down at Rutgers. More of a strong defender and rebounder than a scorer, but we need able bodies inside. Visiting campus this weekend.
Recently on GopherIllustrated the name Nkosi Ali has come up as a big man garnering Gopher interest. Ali is a JUCO center and the Gophers are trying to get him on campus for a visit this weekend.
Lastly there is a chance that Eagan's own, Joey King may transfer to Minnesota from Drake. King would need to appeal to the NCAA to be allowed to play right away and thus avoiding the typical transfer rules. There is a family health issue which is the stated reason for King's tranfer which may allow him to play immediately but again, nothing appears to be eminent.
I would not be at all surprised to see the Gophers bring in another big man who is eligible to play right away.
Moving on to the 2014 class, specifically the local Big Three of Rashad Vaughn, Reid Travis and Tyus Jones. The staff currently will have 5 scholarships to play with next season pending any further additions in 2013. At the very least there will be three seniors graduating leaving a minimum of three available for 2014.
From Pitino's first day on the job it was evident that he was going to put the full-court press on these three (pun intended). Phone calls and visits were set up as quickly as possible and each weekend of AAU ball has had Gopher coaches in the stands. Vaughn, Travis and Jones are clearly the priority and they are putting in maximum effort to woo these guys. Things then got really interesting when I saw this GopherHole tweet
A long time Minnesota AAU coach told us today that "5 weeks ago the #Gophers had no shot at the Big 3, now any combination is possible."— GopherHole.com (@GopherHole) May 1, 2013
So you're saying there's a chance...
Typically the conversation of the Big Three begins with Tyus Jones who is arguably the #1 recruit in the country and has been in that conversation for two years. But I'd like to start this conversation with Rashad Vaughn. Any other year this is the guy we'd be falling all over ourselves to talk about. According to Rivals he is the #1 shooting guard in the country and 6th overall. He is 6'5", 200 lbs and is a scoring guard who will be a rock star wherever he chooses to go to school. Jones is ranked slightly higher but Vaughn isn't some sort of "decent consolation prize", landing him would still be the biggest recruit to sign with the Gophers in decades (maybe ever). It sort of amazes me how much ink Jones has received compared to Vaughn though this started to even out over the past season.
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports referred to him as possibly the best pure scorer in the country.
The 6-foot-5 Vaughn is ranked No. 8 in the 247 Sports Composite, and is arguably the best pure scorer in the class of 2014. He can get to the rim on nearly any defender, and knows how to finish through contact. He also has good range on his outside jumper, and is good in transition.
So what are Minnesota's chances?
Well, he also has an outstanding offer list, he can play pretty much wherever he wants. North Carolina, Kansas, Louisville, Kentucky, Baylor, UCLA, Texas, yada, yada, yada, Minnesota. Pitino and staff have spent time with Rashad and his father and they spoke about their trip to practice and their time with Pitino here.
Forget the phone conversations, you like him even more now after sitting down with him?
I am more impressed. I learned more about his track record -- he was at Florida (International). We watched highlights of how he runs and he runs his team. I am more impressed.
Is it impressive that he's not a ton older than you?
Yeah. He's young. We can probably relate more.
What about his staff?
They're all young. They're all cool guys. Ben (Johnson) was recruiting me in the summer with Nebraska, so I knew him. I'm building a relationship with Kimani (Young). I like them all.
We drove to the office and he (Pitino) gave us his vision. What stood out the most was for a guy not from Minnesota, he knew so much of our history and has a feel for our people. The main thing is he's the bridge to gets Minnesotans to that next level. He said there's a great fanbase, it's a beautiful area, and all that's missing is me. The enthusiasm and how he thinks he can take us to the next level is good.
I absolutely love Vaughn and in my humble opinion he should be the #1 target for the Gophers this offseason. He would absolutely thrive in Pitino's system. And I believe that we actually have a legit shot at landing him. In every interview he mentions how he likes Pitino's system and he previously had a recruiting relationship with Ben Johnson so we are not completely starting from scratch. There is typically a recruiting bump for a new staff in their first full recruiting class (see Tubby, Monson, Brewster, etc) and landing this particular 5-star scorer would be an incredible "bumb" for this new staff.
Recently he nearly committed to North Carolina while visiting. But he didn't and since then Roy Williams has added his second small forward to his 2014 class who projects to play the "two guard role."
Reid Travis is another highly ranked and sought after local kid who is lost in the local coverage. You may remember how much ink the duo of Rodney Williams and Royce White got in the 2009 recruiting class. Reid Travis is right in the same rankings ballpark as they were at this time of their recruitment. 4-star, power forward currently ranked as the 41st overall player and ESPN ranks him as the 8th overall PF.
Travis has been getting plenty of love from Pitino and in this case the Ben Johnson hire may really pay huge dividends. This Gopher Hole interview shows that he is buying what Pitino is selling and the potential impact of having Ben Johnson as his primary recruiting contact.
"It has been great. I like Coach Pitino a lot. Just his enthusiasm for the game and how he has treated me so far. I am just excited to start the recruiting process with him."
On Ben Johnson - "Yes, it is interesting. I have seen Johnson pretty much my whole life throughout DeLaSalle. He is like a legend at our high school. It is nice to see him take the Minnesota job. It was nice to see that."
Travis is being heavily pursued by a host of great schools both for basketball and possibly for football. Michigan State, Stanford, Notre Dame, USC, UCLA and many others. Travis is also doing very well academically which also makes him a target of Northwestern, Harvard, etc. His brother plays at Harvard and his cousin plays for Penn State so this family doesn't have a history of sticking close to home.
But I do think we have a shot here. The relationship and apparent admiration for Ben Johnson can only help. And he would appear to be a very good fit as an athletic big man in Pitino's system. The other sticky wicket here is that Travis is also being highly recruited to play football for Boston College, Iowa and Rutgers (all have offered). Does he want to play hoops or does he want to play QB at the major college level? Tough decision.
And finally we get to Tyus Jones. And this one should be pretty short as I just don't think he is realistically considering Minnesota. There are multiple articles and interviews where he and the nation's #1 center, Jalil Okafor claim they are going to likely play together in college. I'm pretty sure Minnesota isn't on Okafor's short list, which then effectively should move us off of Jones'.
In this GopherHole interview he claims he is considering waiting till the spring to make his college decision which could only help but I'm still not holding my breath.
I think that it would be nice to have signed by then, but definitely with the "U" making the coaching change, their season wouldn't have even started by then or maybe they'd have a game or two by then. I might have to wait now just because of that, but that would be the goal. We'll see how that plays out.
It would help from the standpoint that at least some of the schools on his list would fill up their scholarships, maybe even with a point guard. Jones is clearly a great player, a program changer and likely only going to be in college basketball for a year or two. He is 2nd in the EYBL circuit in scoring against the best of the AAU best and leads the same league in assists. Would love to see him in maroon and gold but I think it is pretty clear he is the least likely of the big three.
But the staff cannot rest on just recruiting those three kids. For one, we are not going to land all three. And secondly, assuming we get Buckles to play this year we will have 4, maybe 5 scholarships available. So the current staff is utilizing their Northeast and AAU connections to recruit a number of high-major talent. Below is just a short list of some of kids also being recruited for the class of 2014.
What is unique about this current coaching staff are their connections to NYC area basketball. Kimani Young spent several years working directly in NYC AAU basketball. Dan McHale has spent time at Seton Hall, Iona University and Manhattan University; all in the NYC area. And Richard Pitino himself has spent time in the Northeast and has recruited the NYC area. There are a lot of ties and relationships that this staff has in this talent rich region. And you can see that these relationships are at the very least getting them in some living rooms and on the radar for some talented kids out of New York.
Not all of these names below are NYC related but there are a few worth noting.
New York / New Jersey area
Isaiah Whitehead - SG, 5-star, #19 nationally ranked - Listed Minnesota along with Louisville and Syracuse as the three schools "showing him the most love." He is playing his AAU ball for NJ Playaz and obviously is one of the NYC connections.
Wade Baldwin - SG, 3-star, #107 - New Jersey native who was previously recruited by McHale while at Seton Hall.
Dwayne Foreman - PF, 3-star, #135 - Playing AAU for Boo Williams and is having a very good AAU season.
Terry Larrier - SF - Pennsylvania forward playing with NY AAU team; Team Scan. No star ranking on Rivals but has offers from AZ St, Miami, Penn St, Pitt,, Prov, Texas, USC and tons of mid-majors. A good defender with a rising stock.
Abdul-Malik Abu - PF, 4-star, #50 - Technically from New Hampshire but close enough for this grouping. Tons of offers (UConn, Kansas, Mich St, Notre Dame, etc) but is this a Northeastern area player that this Gopher staff can snag?
Marial Shayok - SF, 3-star, #109 - Boston College, Cincy, Georgia and Seton Hall are some of the significant offers. I'm not wondering if McHale has a relationship here with the Seton Hall offer.
Chicago / Milwaukee area
Sandy Cohen - G, 4-star - combo guard from near Green Bay and AAU teammates with Rashad Vaugn. Lengthy combo guard who can shoot and run the floor as a point. One kid I think we have a legit shot to land. Maybe he and Vaugn want to be a package deal!
Paul White - SF, 4-star, #43 nationally - Chicago area forward with a ton of legit offers. White bring the ability to shoot from deep as a 6'8" forward, which is exactly the type of player Pitino is looking for.
Tyler Ulis - PG, 4-star, #69 nationally - a small point guard, standing at 5'8". Ulis is an AAU teammate of White's and he has a number of Big Ten offers (Mich St, Purdue, Iowa).
JP Macura - SG, 3-star - Lakeville native and apparently a lights out shooter, is he the next Blake Hoffarber? No actual Gopher offer yet but I would be that it will be coming.
Tory Miller - PF, 3-star - Initially offered by Tubby Smith, but also was heavily pursued by Nebraska's staff. Is this a Ben Johnson relationship that will continue to be cultivated now that he's at Minnesota?
Josh Perkins - PG, 4-star, #42 - Colorado point with plenty offers from the West Coast.
As the title of the post indicates, this is always a fluid situation. Roster management and recruiting are moving targets. There will be a lot more players offered over the next few months and several of these players will not have Minnesota on their radar in the next several weeks. But it is important to note that the current staff is built to recruit. Hopefully they also are capable of developing players and executing well thought through game plans. Recruiting is a vital element to college basketball (duh) and this staff is working their tails off to build relationships with some high caliber players.
It starts with the local kids but it does not end there. With four of five scholarships for next year, this is a major opportunity to land a program-changing class.
99 days till the season kicks off and what better way to celebrate 99 days than to honor the #2 biggest freak in college football. Jeffrick looked at Hageman's distinguished freakiness yesterday. And Marcus Fuller went into depth listing Hageman's freakish abilities. Here is what we know about the man, the myth, the freak, the eventual legend.
The expectations are rising for Hageman in his senior season. He started living up to his potential at times last year with career highs in sacks, TFLs and; well everything. The guy is a superior athlete, even in the big and rugged Big Ten. I think we are all very excited to see him play with more consistency and be a guy that Big Ten offenses have to account for on every play.
Only 99 days till Gopher football!
The Ra'Shede Hageman hype has just gone national.
CBSsports.com's Bruce Feldman has released his annual "Freaks List" for 2013 and has put Golden Gopher 6'6, 311 pound senior DT Ra'Shede Hageman at #2 (For the record, there is ZERO argument about who is #1). That's not #2 in the B1G or the Midwest or the North of non-ESS-EE-SEE country; that's #2 in all the land. As if expectations weren't high enough for his senior season, well, it appears the hype machine is going up to 11 for the guy Matt has dubbed O-Prime.
Gopher fans have known Hageman was a physical freak pretty much since he was a highly touted TE recruit out of Washburn, coming to campus in 2009 as a true freshman at an impressive 6'6 and 235 pounds. Hageman redshirted that year and somewhat surprisingly changed positions as the coaches moved him offense to defensive line. Considering Brewster was in charge this point, it left some to wonder just what he was doing with Minnesota's next great TE recruit. Turns out, this was one singular case where Brewster might have known what he was doing...or it was dumb luck. You decide. Shede played sparingly as a freshman defensive end, and by his sophomore season was moved inside by the new coaching staff as he was tipping the scales at over 290 pounds. He appeared in all 12 games in 2011 before starting all 13 games last season and was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the media. Hageman would likely have been a mid-round pick had he entered this year's draft (although looking at the combine-type numbers Feldman gives he may very well have rocketed up draft boards), but thank god he chose to return to school to become a more dominant player and help the Gophers win in 2013.
The physical tools have never been in question, but from what we saw and read from folks who covered him at spring ball, it seems that his motivation has ramped up to be better and more consistent. Of all the crazy combine numbers Feldman throws out in his column, the most encouraging thing for me was this:His goals on the field for 2013: play with better pad level, play with more urgency off the ball and not take plays off.
Terms like "freak" or phrases like "he can be as good as he wants to be" are thrown around a lot these days, but those two absolutely apply to Hageman. He obviously has unbelivable physical tools, but now he's realized that just being physically gifted won't help you dominate football games. He knows he needs to put in the work in the offseason and every day in practice to be dominant on Saturday's (and perhaps eventually Sunday's), which is exciting for Gopher fans and scary as hell for every opponent on Minnesota's 2013 schedule. Ra'Shede absolutely has NFL 1st round pick ability, so all that's left is for him to put it together, dominate the B1G, and become the best defensive player the Gophers have had since Tyrone Carter.
Content has been pretty bad this week, I'm blaming Jeffrick. But I suppose I've dropped the ball a bit as well. Let's get the week started on this gloomy Tuesday with some Nugz.
FIRST - If you feel charitable, feel free to head over to SB Nation's Oklahoma Sooners blog, Crimson & Cream Machine to contribute towards relief for those affected by Oklahoma tornado.
Moving on to Gopher stuff...
Pitchers DJ Snelton and Tom Windle, both juniors and both earned first team All-Big Ten honors. There were just three starters who earned first team honors and we took up two-thirds of the spots. Clearly pitching was this team's strength, while hitting lagged. I think that Windle was pitching well enough to win the pitcher of the year award but his last couple starts were not as strong and this award went to Indiana's Aaron Slegers, and rightfully so.
On the second team was catcher, Kurt Schlangen. The senior from Albany lead the team in hitting with a .309 average.
Third team honorees were freshman, second baseman Connor Schaefbauer and senior first baseman Andy Henkemeyer. My only quibble with the Big Ten selections was how did Schaefbauer get enough votes to be considered the 3rd best second baseman in the conference but didn't earn All-Freshman team honors.
The Big Ten Tournament will be at Target Field and begins on Wednesday. Corn Nation has the bracket. And the Gophers are gearing up to try and win their 10th Big Ten Tournament title.
The Gopher athletic department is making their annual rounds to outstate locations as part of the Gopher Road Trip Chalk Talk. Yesterday started in Redwood Falls then went to Jackson. This morning the crew is in Mankato and New Ulm before heading home. There have been a number of media outlets reporting on these stops getting some choice quotes from Teague, Kill, Pitino, etc.
From Chip Scoggins, Richard Pitino on a few different things...
-- On juco point guard Dre Mathieu: "He's about as quick of a guard as you're going to see in the Big Ten. He's lightning fast. He's probably only 5-10 but he can windmill dunk and do some things that are unbelievable. He'll be fun to watch."
-- On center Elliott Eliason: "He won't be able to play until he beats me in a pushup competition. We've got to get him in shape, but I actually do think that he's going to have a great year. I believe it and he needs to believe it. Once he gets in great shape, he's going to be a difference-maker for us."
-- On center Mo Walker: "He's lost 20 pounds, which is great. The old expression, that's a deck chair off the Titanic as they say. He's got to lose about 40 more and he will. He's been awesome. He's been committed. He's staying here [this summer] instead of going home, which shows a lot about him. He wants to do it. He's changed his diet."
I love how this staff is really pushing guys in focused areas. I'm imagining a fit Walker and a cut Eliason by next October to go along with a backcourt that can shoot the ball.
More Tweets and specific info about the caravan can be found here.
Were you like me? Were you pretty excited when word started hitting the twitters that the 2014 B1G schedule had been released?
Were you also like me in that when you looked over it you felt like you'd been kicked in the seeds?
Here is the full 2014 schedule.
I remember exactly where I was when I found out that the University of Minnesota managed to lose money selling alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium last season despite grossing over $900,000 in sales. I was at a computer. And I, like all of you, was SHOCKED that such a thing was possible.
"How could this be?" I wondered. Did it happen because the U wanted to lose money, thereby giving them an excuse to stop selling alcohol? Was it due to an inept and poorly written contract? Was someone skimming off the top? I mean, who loses money selling beer at a sports event???
Well thanks to the STrib, we have our answer...a contract with ridiculous terms that were somehow approved by the previous AD administration and the Board of Regents:
A review of the university’s recent agreements with Aramark, a Philadelphia-based company that has had contracts with the school since 1998, suggested that school officials initially might not have aggressively pushed for higher percentages of alcohol sales at the 50,720-seat TCF Bank Stadium.
Within months after the stadium opened in 2009, school officials agreed to get 22.5 percent of potential alcohol sales even though the university had previously agreed with Aramark on a much higher rate of non-alcohol concession sales at the stadium: 33.24 percent of non-alcohol concession sales up to $1 million, and 37.93 percent of concession sales above $2 million.
For the love of...REALLY? You had a tentative deal where Aramark was agreeing to give you 33.24% base with bumps to 37.93% and you somehow walk away with a final deal that gives you 22.5%. Words do not exist to describe that stupidity.
Ok, so who do we get to blame for this? We're a blame happy finger pointing society and I want to know who I can tar and feather with an angry diatribe.
It was not clear, however, how the deal that led to the school’s revenue loss at TCF Bank Stadium came about or who ultimately approved it. Benedict said he was hired by the school only last July and did not immediately tumble to the possibility the school would lose money.
So that's how you're going to play it? K, I don't believe you but the important thing is that you're going to fix this. Right? RIGHT!
The school and Aramark, one of the country’s largest concessionaires, have since been renegotiating the contract at the urging of university President Eric Kaler and athletic department officials, and a new agreement would raise the university’s percentage from 22.5 percent of net sales to 35 percent of net sales up to $475,000 and 40 percent of sales above $475,000 in the stadium’s general seating area. Using the new percentages, school officials said the university would make $110,000 this coming football season based on last year’s sales.
Benedict said Aramark, as part of the new agreement, also pledged to give the school $37,000 to help erase its first-year loss, but he said the move was not an attempt by the company to make sure its university contract was not jeopardized.
Anyone else buy that part at the end that I bolded? Me neither. It looks like the current athletics administration continues to recognize that the department is an $80 million dollar business and should be run that way. This makes me happy. Also making me happy?
School administrators said the new percentages at TCF Bank Stadium would be in place for one year — the school said it hopes to further raise the percentage — and that the 22.5 percent figure would still apply to alcohol sales in the stadium’s premium seating.
Bolding is once again mine. So after playing a little hardball the U plans to do it again in a year? YAIS! The monies...we wants more!
The story does have a few interesting and confusing elements that I'd like to call out:
In addition, the school said it would push to make sure the Vikings — who will temporarily play at TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015 while their new stadium is under construction — do not negotiate a more lucrative deal with Aramark while using the campus stadium.
1) Why does the U care? PR reasons?
2) What leverage does the U have to prevent such a thing?
The decision to sell alcohol at TCF Bank Stadium came after school officials had pushed the Legislature for something else: to sell alcohol only in the football stadium’s premium seating areas. School administrators indicated they had little time to assess the possibility of losing money because they had to quickly prepare an alternative plan when legislators last year insisted that alcohol also be made available in the stadium’s general seating areas.
I'm sorry, but that doesn't fly. Legislators had only been insisting on GA alcohol sales since 2009. It was not a new request. The whole point of the deal the U signed on to was to offer the school flexibility in how to administer GA sales, not to accommodate a last minute GA sales demand from the Legislature. I've been VERY critical of the grandstanding and (in my mind) unconstitutional demands made by the Legislature during this whole saga. I was content with this being the U's decision and would have been fine with the plan to sell only to the premium seat-holders. But anyone who has spent any time following this mess knows that the GA requirement is not new and that the U had ample time to consider how much money would be required to at least break even. Someone signed the U into a bad deal for last season and now they're just throwing out weak CYA excuses.
I really wish that was the end of the silliness. But a story like this wouldn't be complete without a "won't someone please think of the children" moment from someone at the U.
Board of Regents member Clyde Allen, however, defended the arrangement, and said prohibiting underage alcohol sales — and not making money — was the school’s top priority at the football stadium. "Making money on it is not really the main purpose of it," Allen said. "We’re more interested in being sure that we can control the sale of it."
There is a lot wrong with this response that I need to unpack:
1) Of course it's about making money. If it wasn't about making money, the U would have stuck to it's "principles" and let all of the arenas be dry. From the get-go, the problem with the situation was that not being able to sell booze in the premium areas meant you got less money for their contracts and it was more difficult to get companies/individuals to sign deals when there are plenty of other premium seat options in the marketplace that do offer alcohol.
2) I'm completely ok with the U being gung ho about stopping underage sales. But lets not pretend that by prempting underage sales that the U is doing much to actually prevent underage drinking. They're simply preventing the impression that the U is contributing to it.
3) It is entirely possible to both control the sale of the alcohol to prevent underage consumption and to make money. These are not mutually exclusive outcomes. You know how I know this Clay? Because earlier in the article the U reveals that under the renegotiated contract they'll make money. And they won't have to change the access controls that are already in place preventing underage consumption.Moving On...
Ok, I've vented my annoyance over some of the silliness displayed by the U. Now it's time to talk positives.
- Teague and Kaler get it. They understand that this is a revenue stream, that they have leverage, and that there is no reason Aramark shouldn't be giving the U a higher percentage of the profits.
- The revenue estimates for the upcoming season are probably low due to the Badger and Hawkeye fans who will be visiting. One downside? Expect WAY more alcohol related bootings and arrests this season.
- The U is clearly past the concerns over whether to continue selling alcohol in the GA sections at TCF. The losing money thing would have been a great time to cut bait and drop the idea entirely. Instead they are doubling down and working out how to make more money. This is a good thing, not because we can drink at the stadium but because the department needs revenue.
But that's enough of what I think...What are your thoughts on this whole saga?
For the first time we got all five of the current TDG staff together to talk through all of the relevant Golden Gopher topics.
We begin with our bourbon drink of choice and move on to talk through hoops, football and the state of the athletic department under Norwood Teague. Enjoy...
It is kind of long so you may get a prize if you watch the entire 52 minutes, but you might enjoy. As stated, we begin with bourbon, then talk hoops, followed by football, then a few token minutes for hockey and finally the athletic department under Teague. If you need to try to skip around you can adjust accordingly.
By now all the hoopla surrounding the Minnesota Vikings new stadium announcement has settled down. Lots of folks have written about why they love it, why they hate it, or why they don't care. Media outlets across Minnesota and the country have breathlessly reported all the details and added to the hype. And through all of this I have not heard a single media outlet talk about the single biggest storyline to come out of this whole stadium reveal...HKS Sports is staffed by individuals who can see into the future. I repeat, HKS SPORTS CAN FORSEE THE FATE OF GOPHER BASEBALL BEFORE IT EVEN HAPPENS!
My sources (who are way better than the ones who told me that Rex Burkhead's mom was dancing on a table) are reporting that HKS has assembled a team of fortune tellers and wizards to see into the beyond. And what they've found is that in the year 2019, Gopher baseball will be regularly selling out the new Vikings Stadium as they come off their 5th straight national title.
But why would HKS go to all that trouble just to let Gopher baseball fans know how awesome the program will be in the future? And why would such earth shattering news go unremarked upon in the media? I've puzzled it out, and the only reason (that makes any sense) is that there is a giant conspiracy between the founders of HKS, the fortune tellers/wizards, the heads of all the media conglomerates (perhaps even SB Nation?), and the crab people to keep all this quiet. I've diagrammed it all with this handy chart:
The only thing I'm missing is who the overall leader is and why they'd try to stop us all from knowing about what's about to happen. All I know is that this is the only thing that makes sense. I mean, it couldn't just be that HKS overestimated the attendance of an indoor Gopher baseball game by like 55,000 people. No, that's far too easy of an explanation. Wake up sheeple! That's what the mystery person wants you to think!IN OTHER NEWS...
Don't the renderings of Gophers playing in the new stadium look sweet? That doesn't look like a terrible bad weather home at all. In retrospect, I'm beginning to wonder if I should have led with that thought instead of my completely sane theory about the images...
Oh, and if you're still reading, consider this an open thread. I had better stories in the pipeline but I was worried that the Gremlins in the SB Nation system might eat it before it could post. So you got this instead. Enjoy!
It's looking more and more like the Holiday Bowl will be among the new bowl destinations that Big Ten fans will have the opportunity to visit.
An industry source said the Holiday Bowl and Big Ten are close to finishing a six-year agreement. The bowl will pick second in the Pac-12 and third in the Big Ten after the playoff and access bowls make their selections starting with the 2014 season. Officials cautioned that no deals are final, but they are optimistic.
"I think when the dust settles, you can speculate that the Big Ten is coming (to the Holiday Bowl), and you’ll be OK," said the source with direct knowledge of discussions.
I know we like to rag on Jim Delany a bit here at TDG, but I've got nothing but love for this move. You stay classy Jim, you stay classy.
Yes, there are other new bowls that appear to be in the cards for the B1G but I don't want to talk about them yet. I want to talk about San Diego for a minute. Here are some key things to know about the city and it's history:
- It discovered by the Germans (something that makes the 50% of me that is of German ancestry very proud) and was named for the private lady parts of a whale.
- It is sunny a whole lot of the time! How much is a whole lot? Well according to this source I've never seen before it's 266 days of the year.
- Visiting San Diego is an excuse to quote Anchorman and Top Gun (Miramar Naval Air Station is just north of the city) pretty much all the time. That's right friends, you can break out "A La Jolla man clings to life at a university hospital after being viciously attacked by a pack of wild dogs in an abandoned pool." while you are in La Jolla. And you can turn to your fellow travelers and say "good morning gentleman, the temperature is 110 degrees" as you pass Miramar on the way to Stone Brewing Company in Escondido. HOW AWESOME IS THAT? Awesome enough that you might find yourself overwhelmed and in a glass case of emotion.
- One of the best burgers I've ever had can be found at Karl Straus Brewing in La Jolla.
- Coronado Beach is lovely.
- If you're a golfer you can finally get a chance to play Torrey Pines South.
- The San Diego Zoo has pandas. Nothing more needs to be said.The Rest Of The New Bowls
- The Music City Bowl is back on the calendar every other season. In the years the B1G isn't in the bowl that the Gophers own, the spot will be filled by the Gator Bowl. I've heard good things about Nashville and am supportive of this move.
- The Pinstripe Bowl will be added. As I've noted previously, this is cool with me. We're a cold weather conference, why not play a cold weather game in a market we want TV carriage in that also happens to be a sweet city to visit.
- The MCCBoT will be dropped in favor of the Heart of Dallas Bowl. I dislike this move but honestly, does it really matter that much? Neither city is an extremely desirable visit.While not set in stone, this news is looking pretty solid. What are you thoughts on the changes? Poll Which potential new bowl are you most excited about?
45 votes | Results
So I'm minding my own business watching The Voice with Mrs. GoAUpher (I will banhammer anyone who questions my decisions in this regard) when my comfortable was interrupted by breaking rumors on Twitter...
Aware of the #Gophers hoops transfer rumors. 1 source said he wouldn't be surprised, but didn't disclose a name. Aware of the name floating.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) May 14, 2013
Well then. Cryptic enough but not totally out of the blue (see the comments section of yesterday's Nugz). But who could it be?
@afurry I know :) ... just want on a 2nd connected non-Gophers authority before I run with a name. Need to sift through a bit more.— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) May 14, 2013
Ok, so Doogie wants to be all journalistic on this. That's cool. But seriously though, these commercials between contestants being saved are killing me. Can't you give me a little more?May 15, 2013
Now we're getting somewhere. But seriously, let's wrap this up Doogie. If this is all a fake out and you tell me that Andre is transferring at the same time America foolishly allows Garrett to get voted off I'm gonna be really pissed.
Update just now on Joe Coleman from someone close to him: "Joe has asked for his release." #gophers— Darren Wolfson (@DarrenWolfson) May 15, 2013
So, it's Joe then. If this all proves true, I for one will be very disappointed that he's leaving. First, because that means he's going to be super awesome somewhere else because why not and second, because replacing his production won't be as easy as some people think.
Mostly, I'm interested in trying to find out if this was a Joe initiated move, a RP initiated move, or a mutual thing. Yes, we probably won't know the answer to this and it doesn't really matter at the end of that day. Still, I'd like to know.
Some jerk out there on Twitter is already asking who we should blame for this if it turns out to be accurate...
Are we gonna count this against Tubby's or Rich's transfer counter?— Matt H. (@MVofDT) May 15, 2013
What a Gopher hating moron this guy is. What kind of fool would bother to engage such idiocy?
Maturi, duh. Thanks a lot Joel! RT @mvofdt: Are we gonna count this against Tubby's or Rich's transfer counter?— Chris H. (@GoAUpher) May 15, 2013
Oh.So what do you think of this news (that is still only a rumor, albeit a smoking one)? Poll If Joe Coleman transfers I will be...
208 votes | Results
Busy start to the day in Job A world so I'm going to hit the high points. First, an update on how things went for Baseball and Softball this weekend.Baseball
- An 8-0 loss on Sunday gave the Huskers the series win over the weekend. This is the first B1G series the Gophers have lost all season.
- The 2 losses dropped the Gophers into a tie for 2nd with OSU and Nebraska as the season enters it's final week.Team B1G Record Pct. Overall Record Pct. Indiana 15-6 .714 38-11 .776 Ohio State 14-7 .667 33-18 .647 Minnesota 12-6 .667 29-18 .617 Nebraska 14-7 .667 23-26 .469 Illinois 12-9 .571 31-15 .674 Michigan 12-9 .571 27-23 .540 Michigan State 10-8 .556 29-16 .644 Northwestern 9-15 .375 22-23 .489 Iowa 7-14 .333 19-27 .413 Purdue 6-15 .286 17-30 .362 Penn State 3-18 .143 12-34 .261
- Here's the breakdown for each of the top 6 teams with regards to their final series (all series are 3 games):
(1) Indiana at (2T) Ohio State
(5T) Illinois at (2T) Minnesota
(5T) Michigan at (2T) Nebraska
No one team has a final series that is significantly easier, and all 6 teams should be scrapping because of the B1G Tourney implications. The Big Ten Tournament is a 6 team double elimination event where the top 2 seeds get first round byes. And as of today, all 6 of the teams listed above are "in" for the B1G Tourney with the top 4 teams having the best shot at one of the byes. It should be an interesting finish to the season.
- The Gophers will have 2 of their final 3 games available for viewing on Big Ten Network. The series opening on Thursday, 5/16 is scheduled for 3:05pm while the 2nd game on Friday, 5/17 will air at 2:05pm.
- The softball team also had a rough go of things on Sunday, losing to Wisconsin 9-3 in the Big Ten Tournament title game. That disappointment didn't last though, as the Gopher women earned their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2003 later in the day.
- The Gophers earned a spot in the Washington Regional in Seattle.
Minnesota (35-17) will face Hawai'i (43-11) on Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT, with host No. 11 Washington (38-15) playing Portland State (25-29) at 8:00 p.m. CT.
On Saturday, game times are 3:00 p.m. CT (winner’s bracket), 5:30 p.m. CT (consolation bracket) and 8:00 p.m. CT (elimination game). Sunday, the championship game will be at 3:00 p.m. CT, and a second game will be played at 5:30 p.m. CT if necessary.
- Here's how the regional looks (full tournament bracket here):
Seattle Regional – May 17-19 at Seattle, Wash.
Friday, May 17
3:30 p.m. - Minnesota (35-17) vs. Hawai`i (43-11)
6:00 p.m. - No. 11 seed Washington (38-15) vs. Portland State (25-29)
Saturday, May 18
1:00 p.m. – Winner's Bracket
3:30 p.m. – Consolation Bracket
6:00 p.m. – Elimination Bracket
Sunday, May 19
1:00 p.m. – Championship Game
3:30 p.m. – Championship Game (if necessary)
- The Gophers overcame a slot start to finish the season strong:
The Gophers started this season 3-6, but they have gone 32-11 since that point in spite of the fact they played just six games this season in Minneapolis. Minnesota went 14-6 in the Big Ten to finish in third place, its best finish in the conference since a second-place finish during 1999. The Gophers also advanced to the championship game of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 1999.
This season marked Minnesota's third-straight 30-plus win season under Allister. It's the first time the Gophers have accomplished that since 2004.Track and Field
- Friday was a big day for Gopher seniors Miach Hegerle and Quentin Mege, as they finished 1st and 2nd in the hammer throw at the B1G Track and Field championships.
Hegerle won his second title in the hammer with a toss of 214 feet, 4 inches. He also won the event in 2010. Mege, throwing with a broken hand, threw 205-2 for second place. He was the defending champion.
- Hegerle and Mege weren't the only Gophers to have good weekends at the meet:
Harun Abda won the 800-meter run and Zach Siegmeier won the pole vault, helping the Gophers record a second-place finish in the Big Ten outdoor track and field championships in Columbus, Ohio. The Gophers scored 93 points, runner-up to Nebraska’s 131.5.
Abda posted a winning time of 1:48.64, edging Penn State’s Casimir Loxsom by 0.03 seconds. Gophers teammate Travis Burkstrand finished third in 1:49.74.
Siegmeier cleared 17 feet, 1 inch for his first Big Ten title. Gophers senior Oladipo Fagbemi took second in the triple jump at 50-10¾.Tennis
- The STrib profiled two members of the men's tennis squad, Rok Bonin and Leandro Toledo, before the weekend.Football
- Joe C has more on the great story of OC Matt Limegrover's weight loss journey. It's a great story and worth a read. The quick summary?
January 2012: Gophers offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover weighed 403 pounds. He had a 61-inch waist, a 22-inch neck and a body mass index (BMI) of 50.9. A BMI of more than 40 is considered morbidly obese.
May 2012: Underwent gastric bypass surgery.
May 2013: Limegrover weighs 235 pounds, the same level he’s been for more than four months. He has a 42-inch waist, an 18-inch neck and a BMI of 29.0.Facilities
- The new Vikings stadium design is unveiled today and the question is "fixed roof or moveable roof?"
- The Golden State Warriors are trying to get a deal in place for a sweet new San Fran arena.
- This craft beer map is cool but seems to be missing an important MN brew...
Looking for the chance to cheer a Minnesota team on to victory versus a team representing a school whose mascot is Skunkus Popcornus Crapulus? Then you'll A) need to already be in Lincoln, Nebraska or B) turn on the Big Ten Network at 12pm CST. If you are/do, you'll have the chance to watch the #3 seeded Minnesota Gopher Softball team take on the #4 seeded Wisconsin Badger softball team in the Big Ten Softball Tournament title game.
Date/Time: May 12, 2013 (Noon p.m.)
Location: Bowling Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
TV: BTN and BTN2go.com
Live Stats: Click Here
Gopher Softball Twitter Live Updates: @gophersoftballHow Did They Get Here?
Minnesota defeated Nebraska 1-0 (Box Score)
Junior Sara Moulton threw her second complete game shutout in as many days, and Kari Dorle's one-out line drive single off the wall in left center drove in the game's lone run in the bottom of the sixth, as Minnesota advanced to the Big Ten Tournament title game with a 1-0 win against Nebraska at Bowlin Stadium.
Moulton improved her record to 31-9 on the season by allowing just four hits and striking out five. It was her second consecutive complete game shutout, as she picked up the win in Minnesota's 4-0 win against Indiana on Friday.
The biggest threat for the Huskers came during the top of the sixth, when they were able to string together three straight singles to load the bases with one out against Moulton. But she got Taylor Edwards to strike out on a changeup in the dirt and cleanup hitter Brooke Thomason grounded out to first to end the threat.
Wisconsin upsets Michigan 9-3 (Box Score)
Wisconsin (41-11) used a big first inning to knock off the No. 1-seeded Wolverines (45-10) at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb., earning a win over a top-10 opponent for the first time since the 2002 season.
A leadoff double by Mary Massei set the tone for the day and a double by Whitney Massey scored the first run. A single and a walk loaded the bases, setting up a crucial pinch hit situation for Macy Oswald. Oswald drew a walk and the Badgers took a 2-0 lead.
With the table set, Stefanni LaJeunesse stepped into the batter’s box for her biggest pinch hit at bat of the season. With a 2-2 count, LaJeunesse launched a ball over the left center field fence to put Wisconsin up 6-0.