Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Fan In Press Row – Gopher Basketball Thoughts

"Dre" Hollins Looks Sharp Early


First off let me say thanks to the U of M for giving myself and our blog press passes. It has been a great experience thus far.

If only there was a little more room in press row, it would be amazing. Sure, I don’t mind rubbing elbows with one of the best shooters for the Gophers in my lifetime, Quincy Lewis; but man, it sure is cramped up there.

Anyway, back to basketball. The Gophers are 2-0 after wins against a scrappy Bucknell team and an upset minded South Dakota State team. The Gophers didn’t play particularly well in either game, but they got the job done.

At this point of the year, I’m not really all that worried about stats. Nope, I’m more worried about new players gelling and getting wins. So far, they have done just that.

Today I want to give my thoughts on a couple of the new guys. Some of which have actually been playing pretty dang well so far.

Andre Hollins has started both games at the PG spot. He isn’t shooting very well: 37.5% from the field but he isn’t turning the ball over and that is a great sign. I love the way this kid pushes the ball and gets the team going. Combine that with his shots (which will start falling) and we might just have ourselves a really nice PG for the next 4 years.

Julian Welch, another new face seeing some time at the PG spot isn’t playing as well, but could be a very nice back up along with Maverick Ahanmisi. Now, Julian is getting more minutes than Andre right now but I think that is just due to it being early in the season. His shooting is below Andre; 25% from the field and his turnovers are at 3 a game compared to .5 from Andre.

We know how much Tubby hates turnovers; so if Julian can’t fix that early, he might find himself the third PG on the depth chart.

The other new guys that have played, Oto, Joe, Elliott and Andre (Ingram) haven’t really been that impressive.

The only 2 that have stood out so far have been Oto and Joe. I think these guys can be big time contributors once their confidence starts the rise. Oto needs to look for his shot more. He was recruited as a shooter but at times seems very timid to take the open shot. Shoot it young fella, that is why you are here.

Joe has looked strong and talented. Just needs to slow down a bit. He seems to get excited and when that happens, he losses focus. I still see him taking the starting spot from Rodney at some point this year.

All in all the team has been solid. If I were to give a grade it would be a B-. Areas they need to work on are free throw shooting and outside shooting if they want to make it anywhere this year. They can’t just relay on Trevor Mbwake to carry them; although that isn’t a bad plan. If they fix their wrongs early, that grade could easily jump to an A. I like the depth on this team a lot and think once the nerves settle; this might actually be Tubby’s best team here in Minnesota.

With that being said, I told you I wasn’t about stats this early on. This team is gelling and that is a great thing after what we went through in previous years. No one seems to be pouting on the sidelines; no one is being a loner during warm-ups. Everyone is just laughing and enjoying one of the best times of their lives.

This is college basketball in the B1G after all, why would you have any reason to complain? Just go out there and enjoy the journey. Speaking of the Journey, that starts in January and I can’t wait. Gotta love the Big Ten Network.

-Ken







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