Brady Skjei at the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium.
Good morning Gopher Fans,
Hope everyone is having a great summer like we are. Personally it has been a lot of fun welcoming my two-month-old Jack into this world. Jill, Ava, Bernie and I are extremely fortunate and lucky.
This summer has been much different than last year.
The culture has been introduced and expectations for how to operate on a
daily basis have been laid out. That is always the toughest part of taking over
a new job. These next few months are all about taking the next step as a
team and a program. We have had a few weeks of individual instruction so
far as well as workouts in the weight room.
Head coach Richard Pitino gives his thoughts on the state of the Gophers.
This summer I have chosen to stay away and watch from afar.
This gives my assistant coaches an opportunity to grow as coaches because
when the season starts, I am the main voice everyone hears. It also gives
our players an opportunity to get some much needed space from the pressures of
being coached by the head coach. It's a long season for everyone.
My hope is that when we start back up in the fall, our guys will be fresh
and eager to get back to work.
Carlos Morris- Has put on significant weight since he has gotten here and still has a ways to go in the weight room. I have full faith that he, with our strength coach Shaun Brown, will be ready to compete at the Big Ten level. He will need to come in and make an immediate impact. "Squirrel" is a very good ball handler and passer; he can get to the basket and make others better on the court. There's no reason why he can't make a difference from day one.
Nate Mason- Pleasant surprise! Think Andre Hollins, Gopher fans - very similar games. Nate has a great disposition on the court. He seems unfazed at all times. He does a little bit of everything well and can
play multiple positions. I am very excited about his potential.
Josh Martin- I watched him work out yesterday for the first time of the summer because we have been resting him due to a minor knee issue (I repeat, MINOR). One word when describing his athletic ability... WOW. Josh has an infectious personality on the court and is always encouraging his teammates. He has a chance to be a very, very good player. Fan favorite!
Zach Lofton- The sky is the limit for Zach. He has all the tools and talent to be a big-time guard. Phenomenal athlete, great length and has the ability to get his shot off at any time. We need him to be ready next year.
Gaston Diedhiou and Bakary Konate- Both guys are working hard physically as well as academically to finish up strong. We expect both to be on campus and ready to go come the fall. Very excited to coach both student-athletes. Phenomenal kids!
Returners- Who has made the biggest jump over the summer? This award goes to Daquein McNeil. That small forward spot will be a fun competition. I really like the direction Day Day is headed.
My staff and I hit the road on Wednesday to go find the next great Gopher. Recruiting has been going very well. Year one was good, I hope year two can be GREAT.
Hope everyone has a great 4th of July! Go
MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - The Minnesota Wild have signed Gopher Hockey alum Stu Bickel to a one-year, two-way contract, the National Hockey League (NHL) organization announced on Tuesday evening.
The Chanhassen, Minn., native had eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 24 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack in 2013-14 and appeared in 67 games for the New York Rangers from 2011-13 with nine assists. The defenseman also appeared in 18 playoff games for the Rangers in 2011-12.
Bickel skated for the Gophers during the 2007-08 season and notched seven points (one goal, six assists).
Sara Moulton, a senior on the Minnesota softball team in 2014, left the Gophers as one of the most decorated players in program history after helping lead to the team to its first Big Ten Tournament title in 15 years, as well as its first-ever NCAA super regional appearance. Upon completion of her collegiate career, the Eagan, Minn. native signed on to play professionally with the Chicago Bandits of the National Pro Fastpitch league. The Bandits selected Moulton with the fifth overall pick in the NPF Collegiate Draft in March. Throughout the summer, Moulton will document her first season in the professional ranks.
Updated Photo Gallery | Entry #1 | Entry #2
The past few weeks in Bandit nation have been super busy! Last week, we traveled by bus to Pennsylvania and took on the PA Rebellion in a two-game match up. We ended up splitting with the Rebellion. It was a fun trip and I got to play against some familiar Big Ten faces! Andie Varsho from Purdue and Tatum and Taylor Edwards from Nebraska are members of the Rebellion. I look forward to matching up against them and getting to spend more time with them later this summer.
We had a few days off when we returned from Pennsylvania, so a few of the girls and I decided to take a road trip to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals take on the Phillies at Busch Stadium. Estela Pinon's boyfriend, Ken Giles, is a rookie pitcher on the Phillies and hooked us up with great seats! We also got a chance to go down onto the field after the game and take some pictures (see the updated gallery).
Earlier this week we hosted two days of Bandit clinics. It was fun to have a chance to instruct and give back to the game that has done so much for us. The young girls were determined and worked hard! On Monday after the clinic, we played our second Battle of The Sexes game against The Windy City Thunderbolts baseball team. The Thunderbolts came out fired up, but ended up falling to us 8-0 and only managed to produce one hit on offense. The Bandit pitching staff dominated the boys once again!
This past Wednesday we flew to Round Rock, Texas to compete in a four game series against the USSSA Pride. We played all of our games at the Dell Diamond baseball stadium, which is home to the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team. It was a beautiful stadium and the weather in Texas did not disappoint! We ended up splitting the series 2-2 with the Pride.
It's crazy that my summer with the Bandits is already almost halfway over! I am having the time of my life meeting new people and getting to experience new things every day.
My roommate, former Big Ten/Northwestern foe Emily Allard, and I are getting along great! We have learned the past month that we have more in common than just a four year B1G rivalry. She's also learned that living with me comes with cold temperatures, as many of my Gopher teammates learned while rooming with me on the road.
Looking ahead, we have two months of jam-packed softball coming up! The next two weekends, we host the Akron Racers and the Rebellion! I look forward to playing in front of our home crowd and I am expecting to see some familiar Minnesota faces in Chicago down the road!
Here are your weekly updates on current and former Gophers playing summer ball across the country:
*Glen Perkins earned his 20th save of the season
by striking out the side in an inning of work at Texas yesterday. He know ranks
3rd in the American League in saves. The MLB All-Star teams will be unveiled July 5th, Perkins has put together a good enough season to hear his name called.
*Nate Hanson is headed to AAA, the Rochester Red Wings called the third baseman up. He has played in two games, but has gone hitless in seven at-bats.
*Alec Crawford made two more appearances for the Grand Junction Rockies. He pitched a total of 2.2 innings, allowing one earned run on four hits with a strikeout.
*In back-to-back days, Mike Kvasnicka (New Britian Rock
Cats) hit a double and drove in a run. In his past 10 games, Mike is hitting
.387 with seven RBI.
*Seth Rosin (Reading Fightin Phils) made two relief appearances, allowing a run. He is now 2-5 with a 4.91 ERA on the season, in the minors.
*Augusta GreenJackets pitcher DJ Snelten made two appearances this past week. On Friday, DJ pitched 4.0 innings allowing one run while striking out three.
Cape Cod League
*In 3.0 innings pitched, Lance Thonvold (Hyannis Harbor Hawks) struck out four batters. In 10.2 innings pitched on the season, Lance owns a 0.84 ERA.
*Thanks to a 3-for-3 effort on Sunday, Michael Handel (Madison Mallards) upped his batting average to .328.
*Dan Motl's Willmar Stingers club wrapped up the first half title this past weekend. On the season, Motl is hitting .235 with 7 RBI in 81 at-bats.
*Connor Schaefbauer (Rochester Honkers) had a nice weekend. The infielder had back-to-back three hit games on Saturday and Sunday. He is now batting .278 in 54 at-bats this season. Outfielder Jordan Smith also had a pair of multi-hit performances this week. In addition, he plated two RBI on Sunday.
*Troy Traxler played in a 15-inning affair for the Wisconsin Woodchucks on Thursday. He went 4-for-8, scoring two runs.
*Incoming freshman Alex Boxwell has 42 at-bats for his Coon Rapids Legion team. He is batting .476 with 13 RBI on the season.
Summer Roundup Archives
Gopher alum and University of Minnesota graduate Tori Dixon is making a name for herself right away on the international scene. After graduating from the Gopher volleyball team last year, Dixon signed a professional contract to play for Rabita Baku in Azerbaijan before she returned to the United States. After playing in the Pan American Cup, Dixon was recently named the tournament's best blocker.
The Minnesota Daily recently featured the Gopher alum, check out her story here.