Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Basketball Recruiting Update

Names keep popping up as Tubby Smith tries to land talent to turn around the basketball progarm. While the only commit so far under Tubby is Rivals 3-star point guard Nathen Garth, others are now indicating high interest in the maroon and gold.

This update includes a couple new names since my last rundown of basketball recruits. This list is just of who has been offered.

** Stan Simpson, Chicago, Ill.: According to Scout.com, Minnesota is in the top 4 of Simpson's choices, along with Indiana, Arkansas and Kansas State. According to the Indianapolis Star, Simpson mentioned IU first when listing his choices. Simpson is a 6-9, 220 4-star big man according to Rivals and is ranked as their #24 power forward in the Class of 2008. Simpson was one of the first recruits that surfaced when Tubby took over. It's a good sign that the maroon and gold is high up in his thought process.

** Devoe Joseph, Ontario, Canada: The Gophers would seem to have decent odds at landing Joseph. Joseph is the 22nd best 2008 shooting guard according to Rivals. He currently has offers from Duquesne, Washington St, Santa Clara, Fairfield and other mid-majors. But others are apparently in the mix for Joseph, including B10 foe Michigan, as well as St. Johns, Connecticut, Va. Tech and Texas A&M. Guard play has been a weakness for the Gophers, so landing Joseph would be a step in the right direction in fixing that problem.

** Eloy Vargas, Hollywood, Fl.: The highest ranked PF propsect that has received a Minny offer is Vargas, a Rivals 4-star player ranked at #17 in the country at his position. Hes 6-10, 210 pounds. But Vargas indicates he has 'high' interest in Pittsburgh, which has offered. And the competition for Vargas is steep, with the Gophers in a recruiting battle here with Louisville, Clemson, Texas A&M and Miami. Vargas also indicates interst in Florida, North Carolina and Ohio State, but according to Rivals, those schools haven't offered. It would seem Tubby and the Gopheres are a long-shot to land Vargas.

** Colton Iverson, Yankton, SD: South Dakota big man (6-9, 240) Colt Iverson lists high interest in the Gophers, according to Rivals. The three-star big man also has high interest in Nebraska and has been offered by Penn State, Cincinatti, New Mexico and Washington St., among others. Iverson is described as a high-energy big man, who crashes the boards and runs the floor with energy.

** Ralph Sampson III, Duluth, Ga.: If there was a recruit that Tubby Smith had his eyes on before everyone else it is Sampson, the son of the former Virginia great. For a time, only Georgia Tech and The Gophers had offered Sampson. But some excellent showings at summer camps has valuted Sampson from a below-the-radar big man to a coveted commodity. Sampson now has offers from Georgia and California and has received interest from UCLA and his father's alma mater among others. Among the schools after Sampson, the only one Rivals has reported he has visited is Minnesota. Sampson is 6-11, 225 and has reportedly improved his interior game considerable over the last year.

** Scottie Haralson, Jackson, Miss.: Described by Hoopmasters as "one of the South's best kept secrets," Haralson has indicated that Minnesota and Tubby Smith are at the top of his list. “Coach Smith is recruiting me very hard, and he tells me that I can be a big part of what he is building at Minnesota,” Haralson told Hoopmasters. “Minnesota really sticks out to me at this point, but I am going take my time with the process.” While Rivals hasn't ranked Haralson, it does report that he has received interest from myriad schools, including Tennessee, Penn State, Ole Miss and Auburn. Haralson is a 6-4, 210 shooting guard.

By my count, Tubby still has four scholarships available in 2008 after Nathen Garth's commit. Landing three of these players--Simpson would be the best 'get' at this point, in my opinion--would go a long way to turning Gopher Nation around.

Since this rundown only included who Minnesota has offered, it didn't include Festus Ezeli. He is another prospect that Tubby Smith was high on before the competition was reported on the scene. At this point, only Oregon State has made an offer.

I didn't link to the Scout and Rivals articles where some of this information was culled, because the services are subscription only. I encourage any fan interested in following recruiting to get a subscription. It's worth it.


Tom said...

Nice recruiting roundup, I've been meaning to update for weeks but have not gotten around to it. I am really high on Ralph Sampson III, his reputation of working hard and greatly improving over the last year would make him a perfect fit for Tubby. Ultimately my take is that this recruiting class needs to be solid and not flashy, 2009 needs to have a couple higher profile studs to go with a solid core from the 2008 class.