May 9, 2008

Gophers need a PG in the 2009 Class

With the recent Verdel Jones commitment to Indiana, PG has to take on a renewed sense of urgency for the 2009 class. There is likely 2 scholarships available for 2009 which will be held for local SG/SF Rodney Williams and then the final scholarship will be given to the best available PG or possibly C. Getting some interior help is also a significant need but there is youthful talent coming into the program, depth is a concern but with Sampson, Iverson and Carter being around for at least the next three seasons I view PG as a more pressing need.

There are three 4-star prospects who have at one point or another been tied to Tubby and staff's recruiting efforts.

1. Johnnie Lacy - the lowest rated of the 4-star PGs I'm talking about today but might be a more significant 'get' as he is a Wisconsin product. After years and years of the Badgers taking our best players wouldn't it be nice to win down in Madison with one of their own being a playing a significant role in the W.

The smaller of the three on my list, Lacy is known for his speed and quickness. With our lack of athletes and speed in recent years it would be a welcome change to see Lacy running the floor for the Gophs in 2009.

“Johnnie is a special individual,” said Lou Chapman, a former player and then assistant coach at UW-Whitewater and now the head coach at Bay View. “He’s a very dynamic person in other areas of his life other than basketball. He’s a leader, and it’s my job to get Johnnie to know he’s a leader. He has a positive effect on all of his teammates. They look up to Johnnie.”
This from a article last July.

Lacy has always been favored to pick Marquette but with the recent change in coaching staffs the assumption is that Lacy's recruitment is more open than it was just a couple months ago.

2. Mfon Udofia - hails from Stone Mountain, GA and is the highest rated PG we have been recruiting. Udofia is the #5 overall PG, according to Rivals, and has been playing very well in recent AAU tournaments. He has offers from all over the country; USC, Georgia Tech, Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee are just a few of the major names after him. Currently Udofia does not list Minnesota as a school offering him, but there is still a LOT of time between now and the early signing period in November.

What most intrigues me about Udofia is he appears to be as valuable on the defensive end as on the offensive. He is quoted in a recent Rivals article after a string of highly successful tournaments in recent weeks.
"I wanted to show the college coaches that I could do it on both ends of the floor. I think there is an extra sense of pride when you play well on the defensive end. Everyone can score at this level. I want to shut everyone down when I step out there. I feel like I can lock you down and then you can't stop me on the offensive end."
With all of the major schools pursuing him, this would be a major coup to convince him to follow Sampson from the Peach State to the state of freezing lakes and many mosquitos. But until he says no, he is on my list.

3. Chris Colvin - ranked #7 amongst PGs according to Rivals but is another PG who does not specifically state Minnesota is hot after him. Colvin's father had this to say about the efforts by the Minnesota staff to secure a Colvin commitment.
"They did have interest at one point, they were sending a lot of letters," said Chris's father Ike Colvin. "They made contact before the target period was over. Minnesota did show interest some time back but they have not shown lately and I haven't talked to coach Tubby Smith."
Chris is a player with excellent handles and can run the offense (this based on a typically excellent article by Gopher Illustrated basketball guru Ryan James). His jumpshot needs improvement but he'll have his senior season to perfect that and then he'll be a distributor at the Barn. All he'll need to do in his first season or two is get the ball to the Hoff behind the arc, RSIII in the post and don't get in the way of Bostik or Joseph as they break down defenses.

Colvin is arguably the best junior PG in the state of Illinois and so far has offers from the likes of Iowa, Oklahoma, Florida State and Miami.

A common theme with all of these PG is a cooled approach from the Gopher staff over the last few months. I would have to guess they were pretty confident that Verdel Jones was going to commit to the Gophers so they cooled on their 2009 recruits. With Jones picking Indiana, I would assume their interest level in Lacy, Colvin and Udofia will pick up significantly and hopefully by November one will want nothing more than to play for Tubby in the Maroon and Gold.

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