Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Keeping Tabs: Bostick's Future, Faber Likes The Barn

PJS Note: Periodically over the remainder of the basketball season I will post updates of Tubby Smith's incoming five-man 2008 class. The group has been ranked as high as 10th nationally and it is part of the hopefully golden future of Minnesota basketball.

Over the years, Minnesota has been spoiled by top notch junior college transfers. Bobby Jackson jacked up the tempo, intensity and his socks en route to one of the most enjoyable seasons that never happened in Minnesota men's basketball history. Vincent Grier, with his somewhat funky looking left handed jump shot, was perhaps the one bright spot in Dan Monson's tenure.

With two JUCO transfers coming in this fall, it's understandable that Minnesota fans would have high expectations for Devron Bostick (will be a junior) and Paul Carter (will be a sophomore).

Down with Goldy took up this topic in a recent post, and noted that Bostick is the #4 rated JUCO in the nation according to Rivals. That's great, right? Maybe, maybe not as Down with Goldy reports here. The bloggers findings were mixed, when looking back at players similarly positioned to Bostick in recent years. He concludes: "He should be anywhere from a rotation double-digit minutes type guy to a leading scorer type. Hopefully, leading scorer type."

Bostick is a 6'5", 215 pound small forward type who has traditionally been able to score at the high school and JUCO levels. The combination of athleticism and scoring at the small forward spot has been an issue for this year's Gophers. Damian Johnson brings the athleticism when he's playing the 3-spot, but not the scoring punch. Jamal Abu-Shamala and Blake Hoffarber do exactly the opposite.

** Following up on a recent post indicating the Gophers are interested in a third big man for the incoming class, three-star center Krystopher Faber indicates the Gophers are his top school.

Prior to the season Faber visited Northern Illinois and Minnesota. St. John's and UCLA have since joined his school list, but Minnesota is at the top of the list."Minnesota is my top school," said Faber. "I really like the coaching staff and the gym. The Barn is amazing, and I loved the atmosphere."
He really likes The Barn?!? Here I thought the kids don't like old school environments. I digress.

Faber is a relatively thick big man, standing at 6-11, 245 pounds. Reports indicate Faber's play has improved over the past season, and, according to Rivals, he finished with nice averages of 16 points and 17 reboudns per game. Because Ralph Sampson III would appear to be more of a finesse inside player, adding a prototypical banger to the interior would seem like a good play. Faber is getting ready to take an unofficial visit to UCLA and is contemplating a similar visit to St. John's. If Faber is a priority for Tubby Smith--we also know Tubby is still in search of another point guard--it would seems Minnesota's competition will come from Faber's in state school UCLA.

** Late last week I referenced Jim Souhan's well-written feature on Ralph Sampson III. In praising the article, I noted that RSIII had played his final high school basketball game. Souhan wrote something similar in the article I referenced. Well, let this stand as a correction, because RSIII's Northview team made its first-ever state tournament appearance on Saturday, and the Minnesota signee led his team to a 64-58 victory. Sampson filled the stat sheet with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks. In this Atlanta Journal Constitution article, Sampson's coach is quoted as saying our future center was double and triple teamed. Also quoted was the coach of the team Sampson helped to defeat. He called Sampson "a force."

According to Scout, Northview will face Marietta on Friday in the second roud of the playoffs. This Scout link also has a game-by-game breakdown of Sampson's impressive output this season. By my count, Sampson has recored six triple-doubles, and been damn close to a handful of others.