Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cory Joseph Chooses Texas

Blood is not thicker than water and Cory Joseph, rated as highly as #4 among next year's college freshman by one rating service, won't be coming to the University of Minnesota. Joseph, who plans to play maybe 2 years of college ball and then turn pro, wants to play in an up-tempo system, according to his prep school coach, who went on to say that all of Cory's final 5 schools--except Minnesota--play up-tempo. Texas most of all, and so that's where Cory will play.

Wow, how did the Gophers ever get into Cory's final 5? Well, his brother Devoe is Minnesota's point guard, that's how. But even that wasn't enough to overcome the fear that, somehow, Tubby wasn't going to do as good a job of preparing him for the NBA.


And so the Gophers are left with a pretty run of the mill recruiting far.

Elliott Eliason is a post from Chadron, NE, whom he led to the Nebraska state title game where he scored 14 points with 5 blocks in a losing (46-40) cause. He's variously described as short as 6-9 or as tall as 6-11, and has him rated as the #27 post in his class. They expect him to redshirt and add some muscle before being ready for Big 10 play.

Austin Hollins, a 6-4 shooting guard from Germantown, TN, is the #34 2 at (#64 at ESPN). He is the son of former NBA guard Lionel Hollins. He is described as "a silky smooth shooter who can get buckets."

Oto Osenieks is a 6-8 forward from Carbondale, IL, and originally from Latvia. ESPN describes him as "a slender face-up big man with the shooting range to extend the defense" and has him as the #281 recruit from the class of 2010. And where Cory Joseph grades out at a 96 on ESPN, Hollins is an 89 and Osenieks a 73.

Finally, Maurice "Mo" Walker is a 6-10 post who, like Devoe and Cory Joseph, hails from Canada but came to the U.S. to play high school ball. He is the #24 post on (but #9 on ESPN). "A mountain disguised as a man, he uses his size to...wear down the opposition...on both ends...." He is a childhood friend of both Josephs, and said that he wants to play with Cory. I guess that's not going to happen.

Meanwhile, along with Joseph, the Gophers also lost a shot at point guard Ben Brust, a teammate of Osenieks in high school, when it was ruled that he could not sign with another Big 10 team after getting a release from a letter of intent with Iowa.

But there's another new recruit on the horizon, too. Local boy Kevin Noreen pulled out of his agreement to attend Boston College when Al Skinner was fired. He was rumored to have worked out for several coaches last week, and the StarTribune now confirms that Tubby was one of them. ESPN grades him out at 92, and as the #34 power forward.

Without Noreen, the Gophers now have 14 players on the 2011 roster, barring any redshirts that might occur. But, consider that 3 of them may not play--point guard Justin Cobbs is thinking of transferring, Al Nolen is trying to regain his academic eligibility, and Trevor Mbakwe is in court this summer dealing with a situation that kept him on the sidelines all of last year. And, we'll assume that Royce White really is done as a Gopher and that Paul Carter, who wants to play in the Chicago area to be near his sister who has cancer, is really gone.

So, worst case, the roster might look like this:

Starting Lineup

C/F--Colt Iverson
C/F--Ralph Sampson
F--Rod Williams
PG--Devoe Joseph
SG--Blake Hoffarber


C-- Elliott Eliason, a likely redshirt
C--Mo Walker, a freshman
F--Dominique Dawson, a walk-on
F--Oto Osenieks, a freshman
G--Bryant Allen, a walk-on
G--Austin Hollins, a freshman

That's an OK starting lineup but the bench--once again, ouch! Nothing that Mbakwe, Noreen and Royce White couldn't make a lot better very very fast.

The Strib article that announced Joseph's decision said, as we have said here, that this renders the class of 2010 as pretty darn ordinary. But, it says, this comes on the heels of 2 highly regarded recruiting classes. Well, the class of 2008 still looks good, with Iverson, Joseph and Sampson leading the Gophers to those 3 wins in the Big 10 tournament last month. But only one player from the vaunted class of 2009, Williams, is certain to be a Gopher next year.

So, if I had to guess today what the future will bring for Golden Gopher basketball, I would have to say that it doesn't look good once the class of 2008 finished up its eligibility in 2012. The 2012-2013 season is shaping up as a toughie.

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