Minnesota’s roster looks pretty different, but that’s largely due to an influx of new faces, not a result of talent leaving the program. Joey King (graduation), Charles Buggs (transfer) and Kevin Dorsey (transfer) are the program’s three biggest losses into the 2016-’17 season.
The Gophers will welcome eight new players to the roster: Davonte Fitzgerald, Reggie Lynch, Akeem Springs, Amir Coffey, Eric Curry, Michael Hurt and Brady Rudrud
Let’s take a look at how the loss of King and Dorsey will impact the upcoming season. (Minnesota also technically lost Carlos Morris, due to graduation. However, he was dismissed from the team partway through last season, so they’ve already dealt with his absence.)
King was arguably the heart and soul of last year’s Gopher team. (At the very least he was their emotional leader.) Selflessly, partway through the year, he agreed to come off the bench, even though it didn’t impact his minutes too much.
Aside from leadership, the Gophers will miss his shooting. He shot 40 percent from three (on 157 attempts). Since he played much of the season at the four/five, he created mismatch opportunities when larger defenders needed to follow him to the three point line.
In general, Minnesota wasn’t a great three point shooting team. They finished at 31 percent overall. Nate Mason has shown flashes of filling the leadership void, and he can shoot a bit.
The intangibles will be tough to replace (leadership, effort, heart), but King also brought offensive productivity, particularly with his shooting, that’ll need to be replaced.
Buggs graduated from Minnesota after the 2015-’16 season; Buggs used the graduate transfer rule and will finish his career at USC next season.
Buggs wrapped up a somewhat inconsistent career at Minnesota. His minutes increased each of his three years at Minnesota (6.7, 13.2, 24.0 minutes per game), and his scoring average did the same (1.7, 3.6, 5.9 points per game). However, with a rare combination of size (6’9”, 220) and athleticism, he didn’t impact the game on around and above the rim as much as one might think.
Buggs could’ve stayed on at Minnesota, but the roster’s far different now (with eight new players coming in). Perhaps he knew his minutes would’ve been slashed, or at least he’d face heightened competition for playing time.
Dorsey’s freshman year ended about as poorly as it could’ve, with a suspension for posting an illicit video on Twitter. After the season, Dorsey opted to transfer, reportedly to Colorado State.
He came off the bench, and while he didn’t play consistently (and shot 18 percent from three), Dorsey flashed potential and offered the occasionally spark off the bench. His minutes and production aren’t irreplaceable. In fact, the backcourt will be a bit crowded with Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Akeem Springs and Amir Coffey.
The video notwithstanding, Dorsey’s freshman season showed promise. His production isn’t so much a loss; it’s more about his future development.
King, Buggs and Dorsey are all losses of varying significance. But, on the whole, as far as roster turnover, the Gophers are net positive. There’s a considerable amount of excitement around this year’s recruiting class.
Shooting is a concern, because even with King, the Gophers didn’t exactly light it up. Minnesota’s much easier to defend, if nobody can shoot.
But, the team will be deeper and more talented, in theory, and that depth will help them overcome the off season personnel losses.