Minnesota basketball is certainly losing their two most reliable offensive scorers from last season in Maurice Walker and Andre Hollins, which poses the question; who will step up an be the go-to guy for the Golden Gophers during the 2015-2016 campaign?
There are plenty of returning players that made an impact on last season's Golden Gophers team, but not one of those players was very consistent with their offensive numbers. Senior Joey King, sophomore Nate Mason, and senior Carlos Morris were next in line when it came to scoring for the Golden Gophers, and each of these players had some breakout games during Big Ten Play.
King has been a solid and steady power forward for Richard Pitino after he transferred from Drake, and he is entering his last season in Minneapolis. King will never fill the stat sheet but he is a reliable scoring option in the post for the Golden Gophers. Morris and Mason are two players that showed extremely promising signs last season, and each player has the opportunity to become the go-to guy for Minnesota.
Mason had a terrific freshmen stint in Minneapolis, but now he will need to take his game to a whole new level. He was a great floor general, and he was a confident scorer for the Golden Gophers last season. He is not afraid of any moment or shot, which is why he could be the new leading scorer in Minneapolis. Mason does need to work on his three-point shooting. Even though he shot about 39 percent from three, he has the ability to shoot a much higher percentage after one season in Minnesota.
Morris is also an intriguing candidate to be the go-to guy for Minnesota next season after his first year playing under coach Pitino. Morris stepped up right away as a key player for the Golden Gophers last season, and he played high-level basketball against some of the best teams in the Big Ten last season. Morris can get to the rim, and he is a pretty good all-around shooter. Morris will need to get to the rim more often, he is a decent free-throw shooter, which is why he should not settle for long difficult jumpshots.
The Golden Gophers are welcoming a few freshmen that may immediately impact the team, these players include guard Jarvis Johnson, guard Kevin Dorsey, forward Jordan Murphy, and forward Ahmad GIlbert. It appears that Johnson and Dorsey are the clear candidates that could make an impact right away, especially on the offensive end. Johnson has elite quickness and athleticism at the point guard position, which is why he can get to the rim at will. Dorsey is more of a defensive-minded guard, which is why he will not be the go-to guy for Minnesota next season.
Murphy is also extremely athletic, and he is a gifted scorer, especially in transition. He is a decent shooter, and he can even shoot off the dribble. Gilbert is another defensive-minded player, but he is very versatile on both ends of the floor. Both Gilbert and Murphy will probably not be the go-to scorer down the stretch for the Golden Gophers next season.
Overall, the talent is there to find a go-to scorer for next season, but in the end, Mason or Morris will more than likely be the rightful candidate for the job. If Mason and Morris can score around what Walker and Hollins did last season, then coach Pitino will be more than pleased.