Coming off an excellent season, the Gophers are looking to keep momentum rolling. Coach Richard Pitino is hoping to do so by adding future pieces that should help the program stay at the top of the conference. Let’s take a look at Minnesota’s 2017 and 2018 so far and incoming transfer Matz Stockman.
2017 Recruiting Class
Starting next season, Pitino will add guard Isaiah Washington and Jamir Harris. Washington from The Bronx is a 4-star point guard, who will likely see plenty of minutes right away. In Pitino’s up-tempo pressure system Washington should fit right in playing alongside Nate Mason.
Joining Washington is Harris, Harris is a 3-star shooting guard from New Jersey. Although Minnesota will be deep next season, Harris could see some time off the bench because of the graduation of Akeem Springs and transfer of Ahmad Gilbert.
The timing for Harris and Washington’s arrival couldn’t have worked out any better for the Gophers. Washington will learn and develop under Mason during Mason’s senior season. Washington being molded under a First Team Big Ten Player will only help him when he is handed the keys to the team in the 2018-2019 season.
Harris will get his chance to come off the bench and replace Dupree McBrayer minutes as McBrayer will likely step in to a starting role. Pitino’s up-tempo style will allow Harris to play spot minutes, the quicker he is able to adapt to the physicality of the college game, the more minutes he will earn.
Pitino will also get the luxury of knowing that Washington is capable of relieving Mason at times, realizing that Washington is talented enough to keep the team afloat with Mason on the bench. And Pitino will also have the option of playing Mason off the ball when Washington is in.
2018 Recruiting Class (so far)
As of right now, Pitino has one commitment in the 2018 class. He added Daniel Oturu in January. Oturu is a 4-star center out of Saint Paul Minnesota. The addition of Oturu is key because Reggie Lynch will graduate in 2018, which will allow Oturu to come in and likely start right away. Oturu brings size, he is 6’10” and 220 pounds. 247Sports currently ranks Oturu as the third best center in the 2018 class.
Besides nailing down Oturu’s commitment, Pitino is also in the mix for two of the best players in Minnesota, Tre Jones and Race Thompson. Tre Jones, brother of Tyus Jones, is a 4-star point guard out of Apple Valley high school, who is also considering Duke, UCLA and Arizona.
And Thompson is a 4-star power forward from Minneapolis, who is also considering Iowa State and Marquette. If Pitino is able to add Jones and Thompson, Minnesota will likely have their most talented recruiting class in program history.
The 7-foot center from Louisville announced that he was transferring to Minnesota on April 11th. Stockman moved on from Rick Pitino to his son Richard. Stockman will have to sit out the 2017-18 season and will have one season of eligibility with the Gophers in 2018-19. Stockman, a native of Norway, is listed at 7-feet, 240 pounds. He played 25 games at Louisville, averaging 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.
When Stockman plays in his first game for Pitino, Lynch and Bakary Konate will have both graduated. Stockman will be battling for a starting center position with 2018 recruit Oturu. Although Stockman’s numbers at Louisville weren't all that intriguing, he’ll likely improve because he’ll be going against Lynch everyday in practice during his transfer year.
Stockman’s arrival once again is perfect timing for Minnesota’s squad. Stockman is valuable because of his size, and he also brings crucial depth at a time of transition for Pitino’s big man rotation.