The Minnesota Golden Gophers are losing their two best players from last season in Andre Hollins and Maurice Walker, but the team is young and very talented, especially since some of their rising sophomores will now have a year under their belt. Yes, this Golden Gopher team is very young, but that is certainly not a bad thing. Here are five reasons why the Golden Gophers will have a better record this year instead of last season.
1. Rising sophomores
This Minnesota team has three rising sophomores that are ready to make a name for themselves in Minneapolis. Nate Mason will be probably be the starting floor general and he might be the leading scorer for the Golden Gophers next season. Bakary Kontae, and Gaston Diedhiou are two low-post players that will have to step up this season if the Golden Gophers want to have a winning record. Both players did not get that much playing time last season, but each player did show some signs of great potential. These three sophomores are going to be vital in how successful Minnesota is next season.
2. Incoming recruits
Minnesota has five incoming recruits that can immediately contribute in a big way for the Golden Gophers next season. Two point guards in Jarvis Johnson and Kevin Dorsey, two small forwards in Jordan Murphy and Ahmad Gilbert, and one shooting guard in Dupree McBrayer. Johnson is the most likely candidate to make an immediate impact because of his great scoring ability, and if another one of the recruits can step up in a big way right away; coach Pitino will be more than pleased.
3. Roster depth
Five incoming recruits, three rising sophomores, one junior, and three seniors will pretty much make up the roster for the Golden Gophers, and all of these player have the ability to make plays on the floor. The team has plenty of youth, and plenty of veteran leadership, which makes this roster very solid. If a player is having a bad night; there are many replacements that can try and get something going on any given night.
4. Coach Richard Pitino
Coach Pitino has put together a talented, and young group of players together, and coach Pitino will find a way to maximize the potential of each player. He has no problem finding the right players to play together, and he will put together the right starting lineup for each game because he has proven to be a above average coach. He still has to show if he can win games in the NCAA tournament, but right now, Minnesota is in good hands.
5. Carlos Morris
Carlos Morris had a great first season in Minneapolis, and he will need to take his game to a new level this season if the Golden Gophers want to have a better season this upcoming year. He can do just about everything on the offensive end, he will need to become a more efficient three-point shooter this season, but he can get to rim at will, which is a great skill. Morris and Mason are most likely going to be the two leading scorers for Minnesota next season, and that is encouraging news for the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota fans will need to be a little patient because the Golden Gophers might not make the NCAA tournament for a few years, but this team is heading in the right direction, and the Golden Gophers should have a better record this upcoming season, which should make Minnesota fans very happy.