When coach Richard Pitino took over as head coach in 2013, not many expected the Golden Gophers to achieve sucess right away, but Pitino and Minnesota proved doubters wrong.
The Golden Gophers far exceeded expectations by winning the 2014 NIT and the team also knocked off some elite Big Ten schools in Ohio State and Wisconsin that year. Minnesota finished 25-13 during the 2013-2014 season, and the team posted a 8-10 record in Big Ten play, which is the same Big Ten record that the Golden Gophers had in the 2012-2013 season. Minnesota was expected to make some noise during the 2014-2015 season in the Big Ten and on the national stage, but the team went 18-15 and 6-12 during Big Ten play, which was very disappointing. Minnesota fans should quickly forget about last season because the future is very bright in Minneapolis.
Minnesota fans should be excited about the future
Now Minnesota fans, the 2015-2016 season might not be much better than last season, but this program is certainly heading in the right direction. Coach Pitino has brought in a very impressive 2015 recruiting class, along with some strong transfers that will make an impact immediately after they sit out for a season.
4-star point guard Jarvis Johnson headlines the class, along with another 4-star point guard in Kevin Dorsey. There are also a few 3-star recruits that will be playing in Minneapolis next season in small forwards Jordan Murphy, and Ahmad Gilbert, and shooting guard Dupree McBrayer. Each one of these recruits has the ability to make an impact on the team, but it might take a little time before these recruits make a name for themselves as a Golden Gopher.
Illinois State transfer Reggie Lynch, and recently Texas A&M transfer Davonte Fitzgerald are two very talented players that will have to sit out a season before they can make their debut in Minnesota. Lynch is a big man, which is something the Golden Gophers need, and Fitzgerald is a very athletic wing that has the ability to shoot from deep. Both players could have made a huge impact on Minnesota during the upcoming season, but fans will have to wait to see this Minnesota team fully loaded.
Experience is a necessity for this Minnesota team
The Golden Gophers have five recruits coming in, and the team is losing there best players from last season, which is why this upcoming season should be a learning year for many of the young players on the team. Do not expect Minnesota to have a very good year. Even though they are a talented bunch, not many of the players have any experience playing together, and the Big Ten is more loaded then ever for this upcoming season, which is not going to help the Golden Gophers. The recruits need some time to develop their game for the college level, and hopefully by the 2016-2017 season when transfers Lynch and Fitzgerald are eligible, everyone will be on the same page and ready to go.
Coach Pitino knows how to attract many talented players, which is just another reason why the future is so bright for Minnesota.