March 2015 Archives

NHL: Alt Makes NHL Debut with Flyers

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!Mark Alt
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS ( - Gopher Hockey alum Mark Alt is set to make his NHL debut this afternoon after being called up by the Phildelphia Flyers, making the defenseman the 17th Gopher Hockey alum to play in the NHL this season.

Alt will wear No. 39 as the Flyers host the San Jose Sharks at the Wells Fargo Center.

A three-year letter winner for the Gophers (2011-13), Alt tallied 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) in 117 career games.

-Pride On Ice-

Final Thoughts on the Season

Good afternooon Gopher Fans!  After a few days of reflection of the past season I thought it would be good to give my thoughts on year two. First off, I thought our crowds were terrific again all season long. Our staff and players truly appreciate the support.  The fans and Williams Arena are what make this job special.  Our loyal fans deserve a great team and we are doing our best to give that to you!  Aside from wins and losses (yes, I do know that's how we are judged) I thought our offense, pace of play, steal percentage, and assists all improved from year one.  The defense and rebounding still has to get significantly better.  Free throw shooting was a bit of an issue early but got better as the season went on. 

Non-Conference - Obviously we started off with a very tough test vs. Louisville in Puerto Rico on national TV.  We learned that game that Nate Mason wasn't scared of the bright lights.  Unfortunately, Harrell and Rozier were too much for us to handle.  Aside from the game, I thought the experience was very valuable for our whole program.  We constantly talk about sacrifice and commitment to our guys and there is no greater sacrifice then the men and women in the armed forces.

We went on to split at Madison Square Garden a couple of games later. I was very disappointed with the way we finished the St. John's game. With the game in hand we had too many inexplicable turnovers and fouls that were too hard to overcome.  I liked the way we rebounded the next day to beat a very good Georgia team.  Our guys then went on to beat Wake Forest handily on the road.  Andre Hollins and Carlos Morris were very good that game.  Our December was certainly successful overall but I would have liked to have been tested a little bit more to prepare us for Big Ten season.  That is my fault and we are looking to add a quality opponent next season during December.  The question our staff is asking is if we want to start at home or on the road.  We are looking at all options. 

Conference - The first five games certainly took a lot out of everyone.  To start 0-and-5 was difficult but also to have it done in the fashion it was tested everyone.  My biggest regret was not having our guys mentally tough enough to handle that.  Throughout the Big Ten slate I was proud of how positive our guys remained regardless of the fact that we were swimming upstream for most of conference play. They did a good job of blocking out the noise.  Certainly winning at Michigan State and Iowa were bright spots.  We obviously have to do a better job of protecting our home court in the future.  We lost a bunch of close ones that could have gone either way.  Were we unlucky?  I'll never use that excuse. 

Big Ten Tournament - I loved our competitive spirit against Rutgers.  Obviously Joey King provided a huge lift for us.  We battled vs. Ohio State but unfortunately Mo getting in foul trouble was too tough for us to overcome.  Russell was spectacular for them again. 

Seniors -  I thank them for all they gave to our basketball program on and off the court.  They will all graduate and do great things.  It's never easy to have a new coach in the middle of their college careers. They all embraced me and my staff from day one.  Elliott, Mo, DeAndre, and Andre have all expressed their desire to keep playing professionally at some capacity.  They will spend the next few months finishing up classes as well as preparing for whatever their future holds.  Kendal will be entering the real world and will be successful at whatever he does because of his character and work ethic. 

The Future - We are excited about next season and beyond.  We will likely have at least eight freshman and sophomores.  We will be one of the youngest teams in the Big Ten but that excites me!  Joey King will need to provide great leadership for everyone in the program.  He has everyone's respect and has worked hard to earn that.  If Carlos Morris and Charles Buggs dedicate their offseason to putting on weight they will make a great impact next season.  Carlos has to improve his defense and shot selection.  Buggs just needs to continue to grow in all facets as a player.  Huge offseason for both of them. 

Nate Mason has the ability to be one of the better guards in this league when it's all said and done.  He has to work hard to not fall into the trap of the sophomore slump.  He will be the number-one guy on everyone's scouting report.  I'm confident he can handle it. 

Bakary Konate has the potential to be special.  He has the size and the athleticism. The biggest thing is getting him game experience as much as possible. Gaston continues to improve.  The little playing time he did get second semester after coming in behind the 8-ball certainly helped a little bit. 

Schedule - We are currently in the process of planning a foreign trip in August.  We will be able to get ten days of practice as well some games versus good competition.  The timing is perfect for such a young team.  Incoming freshmen will be allowed to play on this trip.  As I stated earlier we are looking to add another game against a high major opponent in December.  We are still not sure if it will start at our place or on the road.  We believe our Big Ten/ACC Challenge game will be home but we don't know that for sure yet.  We have a bunch of good options on the board.  We hope to complete that soon. 

Recruiting - We have three scholarships still available and we are currently involved with several prospects for next season.  Having three open doesn't mean we have to use them all, obviously.  We believe we will have a top-25 recruiting class when it's all said and done. Dorsey, Dupree, Jarvis, and Jonathan all excite me.  They will need to be ready to contribute right away!  We hit the road again in April to watch prospects on their AAU teams for two weekends in what is called the evaluation period.  Closing down the borders in Minnesota is vital!  Thanks again to everyone again for their support! 

Go Gophers, 

Richard Pitino


Gophers in Japan through Social Media

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explore Japan - play lots of volleyball - eat rice - repeat

A photo posted by Paige Tapp (@paige_tapp) on

Japan wasn't ready for us to get the aux cord 🔥🔥#mixtapecomingsoon

A photo posted by Hannah Tapp (@_han_banan_) on


A photo posted by Kate Schau (@kateschau) on

What a blessing being able to travel the world with my best friends

A photo posted by alyssagoehner4 (@alyssagoehner5) on

arigatou gozaimasu it's been an amazing week

A photo posted by Carly Rasmussen (@carly3razzy) on

just another great day in Japan

A photo posted by Molly Lohman (@mollylohman) on

Happy cuz we ate blowfish and live to tell about it 😋🐡

A photo posted by Margaret Eggert (@marge_n_in_charge) on

Gophers In Japan Video Blogs

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We're Talking About (NCAA) Practice

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Photo Gallery

The University of Minnesota women's basketball team boarded its charter flight and headed out to South Bend, Ind., for the 2015 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament late Tuesday night, sharing its flight with members of the U of M marching band, spirit squad and support staff.

But, before the Gophers took flight, they held their first practice at Williams Arena since learning Monday that they were selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in six years.
Sari Noga
Preparing for a DePaul team that ranks second in the NCAA in three-point field goals per game, the coaching staff enlisted the help of former Gopher Sari Noga, who ranks fifth all-time at Minnesota in three-pointers made, to join the team at practice as a scout player. Noga enthusiastically made the drive from Parkers Prairie to help out any way that she could.

"I was beyond ecstatic (when I heard the Gophers made the NCAA Tournament)," Noga said. "It's what these ladies have worked for all year and is what we worked for when I was here. It's exciting for them to have their dreams come true.

"Coach Mo asked me to come and shoot some three-pointers and I'm going to try to do that...we'll see how it goes," she said jokingly.

Minnesota followed that up with their first practice in South Bend on Wednesday afternoon, as Bethel College kindly shared its facilities with the Maroon and Gold. The excitement in the gym was undeniable as the Gophers diligently prepared for their First Round contest at Purcell Pavilion.

"We are super excitePractice d to be here. It is a great opportunity," Mikayla Bailey said. "Being here and practicing just makes (the team) want to get to the game even quicker. I can speak for all of us when I say we are super excited and can't wait until we get out on the court."

The Maroon and Gold will have one more practice on Thursday morning before taking the court against the Blue Demons Friday night.

Check back to for daily updates from the events leading up to tip off.


Goodwin Qualifying

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The Gophers are practicing in Arizona over spring break, and are conducting team qualifying for the Goodwin hosted by Stanford. Jose Mendez and Riley Johnson are exempt. There will be one automatic qualifier and two coaches' picks.

On Friday, the Gophers played a dual match with Dartmouth and won 288 to 303. Riley Johnson won individually with a 4-under 68. The match also served as the sixth round of qualifying, and scores counted double.

Round 1: DC Ranch CC - Par 72 - 6,920 Yards
Round 2: Tegaveh GC - Par 72 - 7,229 Yards
Round 3: Desert Mountain Outlaw Course - Par 72 - 7,107 Yards
Round 4: Desert Mountain Apache Course - Par 72 - 7,156 Yards
Round 5: Phoenix CC - Par 71 - 6,763 Yards
Round 6: Desert Mountain Renegade Course - Par 72 - 7,435 Yards (Dual Match with Dartmouth)

1. Jose Mendez 71-71-74-exempt-72-75--exempt
2. Riley Johnson 76-80-74-exempt-70-68--exempt 
3. Jon DuToit 74-75-72-67-67-73(x2)--501
4. Matt Rachey 72-76-72-73-76-73(x2)--515
5. Runar Arnorsson 77-75-73-73-73-74(x2)--519
6. Charlie Duensing 79-76-77-77-73-71(x2)--524
7. Daniel Luftspring 82-74-78-70-81-70(x2)--525
8. Grady Meyer 76-75-73-82-74-75(x2)--530
9. Tyler Lowenstein 89-75-73-77-74-76(x2)--540
10. William Leaf 76-86-76-71-79-79(x2)--547

The travel squad for the Goodwin will be announced on Twitter (
@GopherMGolf/@coachjcarlson) and Facebook (Minnesota Men's Golf).

Katie Schau's Japanese Phrase of the Day

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As we close out our Japanese Phrase of the Day video series, we say goodbye as we take off for Japan on Saturday, March 14. Read up on how this trip was made possible HERE.

Sayo Nara!

Santana, Rosado Japanese Phrases of the Day

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As the Gophers prepare for Japan, here's another two Japanese Phrases of the Day from Daly Santana and Dalianliz Rosado. Minnesota takes off for Japan and the National Training Center Saturday.

Read about the upcoming trip, previously featured on

Paige Tapp's Japanese Phrase of the Day

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As the Gophers prepare for their upcoming Japan trip (March 14-22), director of operations Nao Ikeda is attempting to help the team and staff brush up on their Japanese.

Paige Tapp gives her best effort in this recent Phrase of the Day.

What They're Saying: March 3

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Briean Boddy-Calhoun is ready to lead (
Previewing the spring (
Gophers have a spring in their step (Star Tribune)
Minnesota begins spring practice (Minnesota Daily)
Jeff Jones makes good first impression (Pioneer Press)
What's the connection between Michigan State's women's basketball coach Suzy Merchant and Coach Kill? (

Fans Invited to Open Practice Wednesday

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Bailey - Wagner
Prior to heading to Hoffman Estates, Ill., for the 2015 Big Ten Tournament, the University of Minnesota women's basketball team is inviting fans to attend an open practice Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. at Williams Arena. It will be the final practice for the Golden Gophers before departing for the league tournament at 3:30 p.m.

The Maroon and Gold enters the event as the No. 6 seed for the second-straight season and will face the winner of No. 11 seed Wisconsin and No. 14 seed Purdue Thursday at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Sears Centre Arena. The contest will be broadcast live on BTN.

Fans making the trip to suburban Chicago are invited to the official Gopher fans Sota Social at The Saddle Room Restaurant, located across the street from Sears Centre Arena. The event will begin at 5 p.m. and will be located in the Track Room. For more information on The Saddle Room, visit

Mr. Kanno Featured on KARE 11

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Some of you may have wondered how our volunteer coach, Mr. Koichiro Kanno came all the way from Japan to Minnesota.

One of eight coaches in the running to become the 2020 Olympic coach, Kanno was placed at the University of Minnesota by the Japan Volleyball Association. With the international notoriety of head coach Hugh McCutcheon and director of operations, Nao Ikeda, hailing from Japan, the placement was a perfect fit. In his second year helping with the Gopher program, Kanno's skills will also help as the Gophers travel to Japan, March 14-22.

KARE 11 Television recently caught up with Kanno, Ikeda and McCutcheon.

Check out this video feature HERE.

NHL: Leopold Comes Home to Minnesota Wild

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Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!2002 Hobey Baker Award winner Jordan Leopold
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS ( - Welcome home, Jordan Leopold! The 2002 Hobey Baker Award winner and two-time First Team All-American for Gopher Hockey has been acquired at the NHL trade deadline by the Minnesota Wild.

A native of Golden Valley, Minn., Leopold has played in 677 NHL games over a 12-year NHL career, tallying 213 points (67 goals, 146 assists) for seven different organizations (Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, St. Louis and Columbus). Leopold also represented the U.S. at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games.

In 164 career games at the University of Minnesota, Leopold scored 45 goals (the most ever by a Gophers defensemen) and had 99 assists (fourth-most among Gophers defensemen) for a career total of 144 points (third most among Gophers defensemen and 32nd all-time at Minnesota). The blue-liner's college career culminated with a memorable weekend in St. Paul as Leopold was named the fourth Hobey Baker Award winner in school history and then proceeded to lead the Maroon & Gold to a national championship the following day at Xcel Energy Center.  

The Minnesota team captain twice earned First Team All-America accolades as well as WCHA Defensive Player of the Year honors (2001, 2002) and earned All-WCHA distinctions in each of his four seasons with the Maroon & Gold (First Team: 2000-01, 2001-02; Second Team: 1999-2000; Third Team/All-Rookie Team: 1998-99).  

One of 16 Gopher Hockey alums to play in the NHL this season, Leopold is now the sixth former Gopher in the Minnesota Wild organization - joining Thomas Vanek, Erik Haula, Jordan Schroeder, Stu Bickel and Keith Ballard. Ballard and Leopold were teammates on Minnesota's national championship squad in 2002.                                                                                                                   

Gophers featured on the MAGIC Bus (3/2/15)

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Some of you Gopher fans have seen our M.A.G.I.C. bus (Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community) visiting your schools, neighborhoods or communities. When you look at the bus, did you ever wonder how 12 of our 750 student-athletes receive the honor of being on the side of the bus? Here's the first of a four-part series on some of our great student-athletes who have given back and represented their program in a positive way. The first group recognized hails from football, women's basketball and men's gymnastics. Tune in next week for another edition!

Gopher Football: Peter Mortell (Green Bay, Wis./Notre Dame Academy HS)
Not only has he made his impact known on the field, but since he walked onto the University of Minnesota campus in 2010, Mortell has already volunteered for over 57 hours of community service. Attending HopeKids events, to reading to elementary children, Mortell has also visited the U of M Masonic Children's Hospital and the U of M's Youth Day Out. In addition to volunteering, Peter used his $452 Best Buy gift card that he received through the Citrus Bowl to purchase toys and every day necessities for the St. Joseph's Home for Children. For more on this story, read here. Thanks Peter for your contribution to the Gopher M.A.G.I.C. program. 

Gopher Women's Basketball: Rachel Banham (Lakeville, Minn./Lakeville North HS)
Rachel Banham has been giving back to her local community since the start of her freshman year in 2010. While becoming a standout in her own right, Banham has volunteered for over 94 hours as a Golden Gopher. With her decision to come back to Minnesota for her fifth year (red-shirting her senior year due to injury), Banham has helped out with the HopeKids organization, the Golden Gopher Fund Thank-a-Thon, Urban Adventures and the Women Run the Cities events. Thanks for helping out our local community Rachel. 

Men's Gymnastics: Paul Montague (Hartland, Wis./Arrowhead HS)
In just his third year as a member of the Gopher men's gymnastics program, Paul Montague has already posted over 68 hours of community service. While helping raise money for cancer awareness to helping out at Feed My Starving Children, Montague has also logged additional hours on his own. During his time as a Gopher student-athlete, he's visited elementary schools and played bingo at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. Thanks you for all our outstanding efforts to give to those in need Paul.

Gopher Volleyball Announces 2015 Spring Dates

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The University of Minnesota volleyball program has announced the Gophers' 2015 spring schedule, which includes three competition dates in the month of April. Times for the scrimmages will be announced closer to the days of competition.

Minnesota opens the spring season against The University of Illinois, Saturday, April 4 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The Gophers take on Kansas State  University Saturday, April 18 (Indianola, Iowa), followed by the Gophers hosting a spring tournament, Saturday, April 25 at the Sports Pavilion.

Prior to the start of spring volleyball, Minnesota will also compete in Tokyo, Japan, March 14-22. Staying in the National Training Center, the Gophers will compete against Japan's World University Games team, who are scheduled to compete at the 2015 World University Games in July.

Minnesota Volleyball Spring Schedule (Times to be announced at later date)
April 4 vs. Illinois (Waukesha, Wis.)
April 18 vs. Kansas State (Indianola, Iowa)
April 25 hosting Spring Tournament, Sports Pavilion


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