The Minnesota Golden Gophers continue to sustain their momentum on the recruiting trail with their second commitment of the week coming from Southwest Christian Academy (AR) senior power forward Eric Curry. The 6'8, 210-pound recruit marks Minnesota's third verbal commit in the class of 2016. Curry chose the Golden Gophers over offers from Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa State and Oklahoma State, among others.
Curry serves as a very significant recruit for Pitino, as this marks the second four-star commit in three days -- Hopkins (MN) guard Amir Coffey verbally committed on Monday. Whether this momentum continues to build remains to be seen, but these are tremendous pickups for Pitino and his staff.
After finishing the 2014-'15 season ranked in the bottom half of the Big Ten in rebounding, the Golden Gophers will need to continue to recruit big men in order to right the ship. With the addition of Curry, athleticism and rebounding should improve in 2016.
Curry will bring a sense of athleticism that will be in high demand for the Gophers in 2016. The Arkansas native brings a unique skill set that can allow him to fit as a stretch-four if needed. The Arkansas Wings AAU standout averaged 7.2 rebounds per game during the Nike Peach Jame, and should carry that into his freshman year at Minnesota.
With solid ball-handling skills, Curry can take the ball in the backcourt and start a fast break if needed, but should be utilized more to fill the lane and trail guards on a fast break opportunity. Curry will get the majority of his baskets in a fast break setting and cleaning up the offensive glass.
Areas for Improvement
While Curry has the ability to create offense from the perimeter, there is a deficiency in his low post repertoire. There is no consistency in his post moves in the paint, and only merely features a right-handed hook shot. Curry will need to learn to consistently use more post moves to be effective on the low block and to get stronger in his left hand to become more ambidextrous.
When watching the 6'8 forward, it's hard to decipher if the game appears slow to him or if he is just going through the motions. Curry's motor will need to be revamped if he's to consistently produce at a high level.
At 6'8, 210 pounds, Curry will need to frequently visit the weight room in order to get ready for division one basketball. With his senior season left to unfold, there is plenty of time to bulk up before transitioning to the collegiate ranks, but it will take a year of work in order to get significant playing time as a true freshman.
This is a tremendous pickup for Minnesota. Curry spurned the Arkansas Razorbacks - the local university - for a program that is still looking to find establish consistency in the Big Ten. Pitino and his staff seem to have found a quality forward, and to go along with talented guard Amir Coffey. If Curry can bulk up and enhance his offensive capabilities, he could be a very productive big man for the next four years.