April 23, 2008

Welcome to Gopher Nation Kid - Royce White

Tubby Smith took a giant step towards securing another top 25 recruiting class for 2009. If I were to tell you we received a commitment from the 32nd overall player in the current junior class, you would be pretty happy. But what makes this commitment so huge is that said player is the best junior in the state of Minnesota, Royce White. Isn't it nice to know that the best of Minnesota isn't signing with Wisconsin, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State, Iowa or anywhere else?

For the first time in a while Minnesota has two players currently ranked in the top 50 nationally. White is #32 and Rodney Williams is currently 43rd. Landing White was the first step towards signing Williams as well and locking down the borders.

White is a 4-star, 6'7" forward who is highly skilled.

ESPN Insider - "He's an explosive athlete (good quickness) that can accelerate with the ball in the open court or drop-step and dunk in the post. He makes good decisions with the ball and is an unselfish player. White plays hard at both ends, is an excellent rebounder, and one of the few players in the country that plays with a purpose on every possession."

Rivals - "Destined to be a piece to a winning formula as a quality college player, White also has the toughness, skill level and basketball IQ to take his game even farther. He is cut out of the mold of present NBA players Chuck Hayes and Carlos Boozer."

Scout - "Good player who works his tail off. Can play some combo forward in college but has the makeup of a power forward."

I can't say enough good things about this verbal. Getting a player of White's caliber before other top notch programs get a chance to dig their hooks in deeper is significant and allows Tubby and staff to direct more efforts to other pieces of the 2009 class.

This team is looking very good down the road. This upcoming season will be fun to watch as we see the 2008 recruiting class get going, but year from now we'll lose Jamal Abu-Shamal & John Williams but we'll add Royce White & someone else. Regardless of who that player is that is an improvement. And this team will be capable of competing with just about anybody.

PJS has an insightful look into the verbal but I'm going to look ahead.

With the commitment of White we have for certain 1 scholarship remaining for the 2009 class but probably 2 if you assume Travis Busch will not receive a free ride for his senior season.

2009 - 2 scholarships available

1st priority - Rodney Williams
2nd - PG, unless Verdell Jones signs then this scholarship is unavailable

2010 - 4 scholarships available

1st priority - C/PF
2nd - SG (replace Hoffarber and back up for Joseph)
3rd - PF
4th - best available, probably another G

To tell you the truth I am more excited about the significance of this commitment than I am about some other news in Minnesota sports today. This is big and things are looking brighter still for Gopher hoops.

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