The Golden Gophers were dealt a blow recently when Jarvis Johnson was not medically cleared to play in 2015-2016 (you can read about that announcement here, on our website). For many reasons, this is a huge disappointment.
First and foremost, Johnson’s health is the concern. If his health is at risk, this is the right call. Secondly, Johnson is a Minnesota kid, who stayed home and hoped to build a Gopher culture that would keep other local kids in town. Lastly and more pressing, the Gophers have a void at guard after graduating Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu.
All is not lost. Johnson will still be around the program, and may be cleared medically at some point (but even that is uncertain). Also, head coach Richard Pitino has reinforcements. Kevin Dorsey is a 6’0" 170 pound point guard from Port Tobacco, Maryland (Clinton Christian School) that is rated by ESPN as a four-star recruit. With the departures of Hollins and Mathieu, and Jones’s situation, Dorsey will likely be thrust into a larger role more quickly. Time certainly will tell.
Energy, effort and athleticism are not questions for Dorsey. He’s quick, athletic and plays exceptionally hard on defense, according to ESPN’s recruiting analysis. He sounds like a perfect fit for what Pitino wants to do: press and play up tempo (and, he’s absolutely excited about him). With those traits, he ought to contribute quickly. Playing hard and playing aggressively will earn him floor time, especially considering Minnesota’s current situation.
Dorsey is really dynamic in the open floor (see below). He’s aggressive on the break and has great vision and anticipation. He finishes well near the basket with either hand, and shows craftiness around taller defenders.
His shooting is a question mark and that's where he’ll need to improve. ESPN analysis indicates that he either doesn’t have a jumper, or just doesn’t feel confident taking it. It suggests that he hesitates to pull the trigger and look for his own shot. That’ll need to change; he’s young, so there’s a certain amount of development that’ll happen. From highlights, though, Dorsey shoots with confidence and his form is solid. He’s apparently a very capable driver and disher, but looks to pass more than shoot (perhaps almost unselfish to a fault).
Big Ten defenses will sag off him and play the drive if he can’t, or is not willing, to shoot. It’ll neutralize his drive and kick game. ESPN’s analysis goes as far to say "there’s a little miniature Rajon Rondo-type quality in his game." In other words, he doesn’t shoot and over-passes at times, but with that comes many good qualities, with Dorsey capable of being a playmaker for others and if he elevates the talent around him, it’ll make Minnesota much more dangerous.
I don’t necessarily see Rondo in his game, at least from what I watched on YouTube. Where Rondo probes and really detests shooting (at times), Dorsey explodes, and is a willing shooter. In other words, Dorsey’s not passing up wide open layups.
Port Tobacco, Maryland is an hour south of the University of Maryland (College Park). The Terrapins offered him a scholarship and Nebraska was in the mix, but he chose Minnesota. The Terps should be pretty good, but with Melo Trimble at point guard, perhaps Dorsey sees the Gophers as an opportunity to contribute more quickly. Pitino aggressively recruited Dorsey, and after graduation and the news about Johnson, they’ll need him more than ever.