Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Excitement Rises Over Tubby Hiring

In just over four months, a new era of basketball will start at the University of Minnesota. The hiring of Tubby Smith has created a buzz around the program for the first time in a decade. The coaching move is a huge step forward for the basketball program and will hopefully bring success in the near future. Tubby has already assembled an unbelievable staff of assistants which includes his son and former player Saul Smith, Vince Taylor, who spent last season with the Timberwolves, and Joe Esposito who comes fresh from setting numerous high school coaching records in Florida. The new staff is devoted to taking the program to the next level. The laughter just recently subsided from the news that senior forward Dan Coleman and senior center Spencer Tollackson declared for the NBA draft, and thank god they pulled out. That leaves the Golden Gopher’s with a solid core of players for Tubby and his staff to work with before Tubby starts bringing in his own recruits next year. The incoming recruits for this year include Hopkins’ phenom Blake Hoffarber and Al Nolen from Minneapolis Henry. There have been no verbal commitments from any incoming high school seniors, but it is only a matter of time with Tubby recruiting. Both Tubby and Joel Maturi, and University’s AD, haven’t set any lofty goals for this year. The Gophers are projected to finish 9th in the conference just in front of Northwestern and Penn State. I personally think that under the guidance of Tubby, the Gophers could surprise many this year. They are returning their starting 5, and were just coming together and playing better basketball at the end of last season. Check back later to keep tabs on incoming senior commitments and the release of the 2007/2008 schedule…

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