Basketball recruiting is essentially done for Minnesota's 2008 class. Football will continue to work through signing day to get a great class coming in next fall. Both sports have done a phenominal job of putting Minnesota sports back on the radar for recruiting (nationally). Football can boast arguably the best recruiting class in the programs history (at least modern day history) and basketball has at least one of the best classes in over a decade. As Christmas is approaching I want to give my basketball wish list for 2009.
BASKETBALL - 2009 - 3 available scholarships by my count. It is a lot of fun to look at the lists of the top rated players for 2009 and find Minnesota listed amongst kids in the top 50. We are looking at 5 kids in the top 50 and another in the top 100. With 3 scholarships I am hopeful and confident that we can land three top 50 kids and have a top 10 recruiting class. White and Williams are top 50 kids from Minnesota that I expect we'll land. Then we have 1 scholarship left to get a stud.
- DaShonte Riley - 5-star, 6'10" C - I'm excstatic that we landed Sampson, but you can't turn away a 15, 5-star center. And who says one can't play PF to give us twin towers. Anyway, I'm dreaming now. Really though White and Williams are top priority but if you can land a 5* center like this you really have to give it everything you've got. tubby will have his work cut out for him with Riley as he is getting offers from the best programs in the country. OFFERED along with G'town, Kansas, KState, Mich, MichSt and Ohio St.
- Royce White - 4-star, 6'7" PF - The best in the state (#32 overall) and this is a key guy for Tubby and staff. The 2008 class brought in a couple of big guys and now we need some athletic forwards. White really has to be a top priority. OFFERED along with Ill, MichSt, USC, Wisc and others.
- Rodney Williams - 4-star, 6'5" SF - Another highly regarded player nationally (#43 overall) who resides in Minnesota. It seems that a combination of White and Williams would be nice on the floor together. OFFERED along with Iowa, IowaSt and Miami (FL).
- Ari Stewart - 5-star, 6'7" F - Ranked by Rivals as the #15 overally player in the 2009 class. Another highly rated 5-star kid would be huge for this program. Of course I know next to nothing about this kid from Marietta, GA but landing a top 15 kid is something we don't see much of in Gopher Nation. Minnesota has not offered yet but his offer list does include GTech, Wake, OhioSt, Tenn, KSt, LSU, Georgia, Aub and others.
- Jamil Wilson - 4-star, 6'7" F - Now we get into the kids we want to steal. Wilson is a Wisconsin kid and ranked #33 overall by Rivals. Not only would be it great to land a top 50 kid, but to make sure he isn't playing in Madison would be extra sweet. Not only do we want to reverse the trend of Minnesota kids becoming badgers (Cam Taylor, Jordan Taylor, Leuer and Berggren), but we want to start stealing their best. Make Bo Ryan work a little bit. Offers from Wis, Pur and Marq
- Johnny Lacy - 4-star, PG - another Wisconsin kid and a position of need (I think). I love Nolan and I think Joseph will be PG of the future but this would be a nice top 100 guy (#88) to land. We could use another true PG to let Joseph score and play some at both guard spots. Nolan is solid and will be a starter for the next 3 years but Lacy would be nice coming off the bench and if we redshirted him he'd also get a few years of starting as a golden gopher. Marquette is the only school to have offered.
- Mfon Udofia - 4-star, PG - Rivals has Udofia as #36 overall in the 2009 class. Udofia would continue a little Georgia pipeline. I'm sure Tubby's relationships from his U of Georgia days are contributing to having MN on his radar. Offers from Alabama, Auburn, GTech, Georgia, OleMiss and SFlorida.
- Chris Covin - 4-star, PG - Rivals ranked #40 overall. Covin is a Chicago kid with offers from Illinois, Iowa and a couple mid-majors.
- Diamond Taylor - 4-star, SG - Rivals ranked #67 overall. Offers from Marq, Wis and a couple Mids.
- Jerome Maymon - 3-star, 6'6" F - the third Wisconsin kid who has Minnesota on his list. Although not a top 100 player, Maymon sticks with my theme of stealing players from our neighbor to the east. No offers yet, interest from Wis, Iowa, Ill, Mich, Minn and FlorSt.
I am rather confident that we will land the two Minnesota kids White and Williams. When you have Tubby Smith in your backyard and you can visibly see the dramatic difference he has made from last year's team to this, it is very enticing and hard to leave. If we fail to land one of them I expect that we'd make a strong push for Wilson. Assuming we land them both then I don't see Wilson or Stewart as strong candidates for the 3rd scholarship. Since Riley has already been offered I expect that he'd get every opportunity to accept before we move on to a PG on the list.
I say we land...
F - Royce White (#32)
F/SG - Rodney Williams (#43)
PG - Mfon Udofia (#46) - if not Udofia then Lacy (#88)
There is a real good chance that we will end up with 3 players who are all ranked in the top 50 overall. The 2008 class that is coming in has everybody excited (and it should) but the highest rated player is Sampson at #74. After we land White and Williams I'm praying for Riley, hoping for Udofia and will be happy with Lacy. This 2009 class could be really special.
2010 List Early look - why not? :)
Robert Sampson - 6'8" brother of Ralph Sampson III - the commitment of RSIII may pay dividends for a couple years after he leaves Minnesota.
Corey Joseph - 6'3" brother of Devoe Joseph - I'm not 100% certain of his grade status but THIS article says Corey is 2 years younger than Devoe.
Josh Hairston - PF - Virginia native has a lot of schools on his list including MN