Monday, May 5, 2008

And Verdell Jones Chooses .... Indiana

Verdell Jones is set announce his college choice at 5 p.m. central time today at a press conference. All signs still indicate he will be coming to the Gophers, but Indiana and Kentucky are big players in the race for, arguably, the best point guard still available for the 2008 recruiting class.

UPDATE: Jones picks Minnesota AND Indiana. Impressive.

The Star Tribune's Myron Medcalf, quoting the pizza man at the location of Jones' press conference, indicates the point guard picked Indiana.

Meanwhile, Chris Monter of indicates Jones picked the Gophers.

Weird. Knowing Myron's track record, we're leaning towards Scout for accuracy here. Plus, calling the pizza man at the joint Jones is having said press conference doesn't strike me as New York Times quality reporting. Perhaps verification is needed, Myron? Sheesh.

OOOOPS. Myron wins, Myron wins. JONES PICKS INDIANA. Fine. We're OK with that.

The official word from Jones himself, who has been working with the East Central Illinois News Gazette to chronicle his recruitment. He's quoted as saying he picked Indiana for the team's playing style, Coach Tom Crean's "energy" and the IU tradition.

Analysis: I've been of the mind that the Gophers need another point guard. Al Nolen couldn't do it alone as a freshman and his lack of offensive ability will make it tough for him to play 35 minutes a game at the point guard spot. So, we need another ball handler. Devoe Joseph is a highly rated guard, but he's more of a scorer according to scouting reports then a ball handler.

Some will argue, and they have a point, that the Gophers need size. Frankly, I think we need talent, and if the loss of Jones means we get someone of equal or higher talent next season, regardless of position, I'll be pleased.

Now, let's do like Wisconsin and shore up our 2009 and '10 classes. Did you know that Bo Ryan has his entire 2009 and 2010 classes nailed down?

Despite Jones picking IU over Minny, Tubby's 2008 class already ranked in the top 10-15 in most publications, will include two interior players--Ralph Sampson III and Colt Iverson--guards Devoe Joseph and Devron Bostick (JUCO Soph) and three/four Paul Carter (JUCO Frosh).

Here's a snippet on each:

RSIII: In my mind the crown jewel of the class, the son of the former Virginia great, Ralph Sampson III has been described as a late-blooming interior player with a quality outside shot. He's still growing basketball-wise by all accounts and his recruiting picked up heavily, but thankfully Tubby was in on the recruitment early.

A 4-star center, Sampson, from Duluth, Ga., is ranked by Rivals as the 59th best player in the 2008 class and the 11th best center. At 6'11, 220 pounds, Sampson isn't your Cortney James type of banger, but he will be a much more athletic big man then Gophers fans are sued to (think Spencer Tollackson and Jeff Hagen!). He had offers from Clemson, Kentucky, Georgia Tech and Maryland, but picked the U.

Colt: A 6'9, 240 pound power forward from Yankton, S.D., Colton Iverson is known as a big man who can get out on the break, impact shots with his wingspan (another shot blocker will be nice next to Damian Johnson).

Like Sampson, Colt is a Rivals Top 150 player, coming in at #138 and is ranked as the country's 37th best power forward in the 2008 class. Recruitment of Colt was mostly local, with teams like Nebraska, Iowa State and Creighton having offered the big man. But, at the time, the two-time national champion Florida Gators were also recruiting, and offered, Colt. But he picked Tubby and the Gophers. I imagine the Gators liked Colt's quickness for a big man and his ability to play a transition game.

Paul Carter: Listed as a power forwrd, Carter stands 6'9 but weighs 190 pounds, and will likely see time at both the 3 and 4 once he cracks the rotation, much like Damian Johnson did this past year. A JUCO freshman from Missouri West-Plains Community College, Carter is described as an athletic player that can slash, score from the perimeter and inside and rebound well.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes Carter to crack into the rotation. The consensus I've seen is that of the newcomers, it could be Colt and Carter who battle to be that 4th big man. Carter wasn't as heavilt recruited as the others. He had offers from Wyoming, Charlotte and Baylor.

Devron Bostick: . Bostick will be a junior and is coming off of a JUCO Player of the Year season at Southwestern Illinois Community College. At 6'5, 215 pounds, Bostick might be the only pure small forward on the Gophers' roster. Blake Hoffarber is more of a spot-up two-guard. Bostick brings.

JUCO transfers are sort of hit or miss. Minnesota has had some good recent luck with Vincent Grier and Bobby Jackson, but Bostick doesn't appear to be on either level. Having read less about Bostick than the others, I'll pass judgment and simply hope he dominates Raymar Morgan next season.

Devoe Joseph: The second Rivals 4-star recruit in the class, Joseph stands at 6'2, 170 pounds and is ranked as the country's #10 shooting guard and the 61st best player overall in the country.

Nice! The Gophers needed a few things as last season indicated. Talent and offense. Joseph brings both. With offers from Kansas, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and others, a native of Pickering, Ontario. Think of Joseph as an excellent outside shooter in the mold of a Hoffarber but with athletic ability. Joseph, at least according to scouting reports, has the ability to get to the rim but he needs to progress in this department. If Tubby goes with a 3-guard lineup next season, don't be surprised to see an Al Nolen, Lawrence Westbrook and Devoe Joseph starting lineup.


RM said...

Myron is a terrible, terrible reporter.

PJS said...

The STrib has some pretty good sports reporters, but Myron is not one of them. We all miss Jeff Shelman!

lonebadger said...

What next? Is Derrick Favors committing early to the Gophers? You guys think everyone wants to be a Gopher now. Here's a novel idea, how 'bout we wait until the news actually happens before reporting it? Sheesh. I was fretting about all the talent you guys are signing only to find out that you guys are getting me all worked up for nothing.

PJS said...

Oh, poor lonebadger, he who realizes that Bo Ryan's ability to harvest all Minnesota talent is coming to an end.

But you're right about waiting until the news actually happens. The local papers and scouting sites were reporting that Jones to Minny was a sure thing. Liars.

Friend Of Tubby said...

2009 add Rodney Williams and a PG to that class.

2010 add Chad Calcaterra, Dyami Starks, Cody Larson (SD), Maurice Walker (Toronto), and Cory Joseph (Devoe's brother).


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