Monday, November 28, 2011

A Fan in Press Row – Gopher Basketball Thoughts

Trevor Is Done. Season Next?

Going into Sunday night you probably, like me, thought the Gophers were going to win the “Old Spice Classic” and start to earn some respect. Man, were we wrong or what?

Not only did the Gophers lose to Dayton 86-70, they lost their leader and best player.

Trevor Mbakwe went down after fighting for a rebound in the second half. He stayed on the court for what felt like forever and was helped off while putting no weight on his leg. I’m not a doctor, but anyone who saw it knew it wasn’t good.

Trevor did come back to the bench, but it was with an ice pack and a towel over his head to hide what appeared to be tears. You couldn’t help but feel bad for him and the team.

Since coming to Minnesota, Mbakwe has been a stud on the court for the Gophers. We all know the off-court issues he had so I’m not going to rehash those. Trevor was the 4th best PF in the country according to rivals and had some sites projecting him as high as the 14th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

He is expected to recover fully and will still have a great chance of fulfilling his dream of making the NBA; he just might not go as high as some thought. But as we know, Trevor has no problem of working hard to get up after getting knocked down; so when he does get drafted, look for him to make a splash.

If that wasn’t enough to make Gopher fans need to play “Jumper” by Third Eye Blind, the team lost in the championship game of the above mentioned tournament.

They didn’t play well the whole tournament in my opinion to make matters worse.

Sure, they beat DePaul and Indiana State, but it took melt downs by both teams for that to happen. I know some will say, “Those teams didn’t melt down, Tubby and the team just made great adjustments at the end of the second half.” If you believe that, I have a 97’-98’ Gophers Final Four banner I can sell you approved by the NCAA.

Tubby is not a good in-game adjustment coach and we all know it. Those teams just went cold, simple as that.

Believe me, I’m usually one of the first people in line to give an excuse as to why the Gophers didn’t win our praise them for doing something well; but praising Tubby for in-game adjustments is just something I can’t do.

If you think I’m wrong, just look at how teams have killed us from outside the whole time he has been here. Is that his scheme? Maybe, but if it doesn’t work in that day’s game, CHANGE IT!

Sorry, had to get that out.

The team now sits at 6-1 and without a leader. Who will step up?

We did see some signs that Julian Welch could be that guy, but we also saw reasons he can’t be. He had, by far, his best stretch of games as Gopher and that was great. He was causing havoc on the defensive end but then couldn’t finish when he did steal the ball.

Andre Hollins showed some nice signs as well. He had his outside shot going and was putting players in a good position to score, but couldn’t stay in the games long enough due to foul trouble.

Austin Hollins played well just as he has all year, but he can’t do it himself.

Rodney Williams looked like the NBA prospect some have said he is in the first game against DePaul, but looked like the Rodney we have come accustomed to over the last two years to end the tournament.

I won’t comment on Ralph because he was playing with an ankle injury so it wouldn’t be an accurate portrayal of his game.

So, which player will step up and at least keep our season respectable? The answer is simple, it’s………………….

- Ken

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