As the NBA Developmental League's fall camps begin, three former Golden Gophers will participate in the action. Dan Coleman, Ralph Sampson III, and Paul Carter are all on camp rosters. Another former Gopher, Dusty Rychart, is playing in Spain.
Coleman will work out with the Skyforce, the D-League affiliate for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers. Coleman and the other 16 invited players will begin camp on Nov. 10 and conclude on Nov. 21. The team will determine its opening day roster on the final day of camp.
Coleman played for the Gophers from 2004 to 2008. He currently ranks 15th in school history in scoring with 1,317 points. Coleman earned All-Big Ten Honorable Mention acclaim as a senior. After graduation, he played on the Timberwolves' summer league team before signing with a team in Portugal. He has spent the past few years playing in France.
Sampson is the most recent Gopher graduate to try his hand at the pros.
Sampson was selected by the Reno Bighorns with the 11th pick in the third round of Friday night's D-League draft. The Bighorns are the affiliate for the Memphis Grizzlies, Sacramento Kings and Utah Jazz. Sampson concluded his Gopher career last season as one of just five players in school history to compile 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 150 blocks.
Carter remains with the Idaho Stampede (affiliate for the Portland Trail Blazers) for the second-straight season. He averaged 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game last year.
Carter played two seasons with the Gophers before transferring to Illinois-Chicago for the 2010-11 season to be closer to his sister.
Rychart has been playing professionally in Australia for a decade. He currently lives in Cairns, where he plays for the Cairns Taipans. He writes a blog about his experiences.
Rychart played for the Gophers from 1998 to 2002. He ranks 17th in school history with 1,268 career points. He made the All-Big Ten Third Team as a senior.
Join Gopher basketball play-by-play voices Mike Grimm (men's) and Corbu Stathes (women's) as they host the second annual "Media Day Live" broadcast on GopherSports.com this Friday, Oct. 12 beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Mike and Corbu will host a wide variety of guests during the half-hour live broadcast, including head coaches Tubby Smith and Pam Borton, as well as Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe & Andre Hollins from the men's team and Rachel Banham from the women's team.
Tubby Smith will be among the guests at "Media Day Live" Friday on GopherSports.com
Basketball fans can join in on the action by Tweeting Mike (@MikeGrimm3) and Corbu (@CorbuStathes) questions before the broadcast OR via the live chat feature on our Media Day Live page during the broadcast. Quotes from the broadcast will be live Tweeted from the official accounts of Gopher Basketball, @GopherBBall and @GophersWBB.
Basketball Media Day Live Guest Schedule (times approximate):
3:00 - 3:35: Tubby Smith 3:35 - 3:40: Trevor Mbakwe 3:40 - 3:45: Rodney Williams 3:45 - 3:50: Andre Hollins 3:50 - 4:00: Pam Borton and Rachel Banham
The University of Minnesota men's and women's basketball programs will officially begin the season by hosting "Gopher All-Star Friday Night" on Oct. 12 at Williams Arena. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m.; the entire night's schedule is available by clicking here. The Williams Arena doors will open at 7:00 p.m. in preparation for the evening's first event.
Come out to Williams Arena on Friday, Oct. 12 for the 2012 Gopher Basketball All-Star Friday Night!
As you enter the arena, register to win a trip for 2 to the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas.
One randomly selected winner will receive airfare for 2, hotel accommodations for 4 nights at Atlantis Paradise Island, tickets to the 2012 Battle for Atlantis tournament and more!
Register to win boxes and entrance slips will be available around the arena's concourse. Other prizes will be given away throughout the evening, including restaurant gift cards, Gopher apparel, an Apple iPad and more!
The Battle 4 Atlantis grand prize will be given away before the Men's Basketball Scrimmage and you must be present to win.
Following the debut of last season's highly successful "All Star Friday Night" event, the Gopher men's basketball team wants fans to save the date of Friday, Oct. 12 for the 2nd iteration of this fun event.
University of Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith travels all over the country to speak at various events but he looks forward to the summer and his annual trip to Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch in Stewartville, Minn. for the National Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Camp.
"I have really enjoyed the time that I have spent at Ironwood Springs and look forward to the trip each summer," said Smith. "Bob, the entire staff and certainly all of the campers, serve as an inspiration for all of us. "
Bob Bardwell is the Founder and Camp Director at Ironwood Springs and is an inspiration to all that have had an opportunity to meet him. In 1973 Bardwell was paralyzed from the waist down in a construction accident but that hasn't slowed him down.
A former collegiate wrestler at Pillsbury College in Owatonna, Minn. and member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Bardwell has competed in nearly 300 races since the accident, including three-straight wins in the Twin Cities Marathon (1986-88). In all, he has collected 75 first place trophies as a racer.
As if that isn't enough, Bardwell is also an Inspirational and Motivational speaker and has authored a book - Marathons of Life.
This was the 26th annual National Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Camp. More information on the camp and Ironwood Springs can be found at www.ironwoodsprings.com.
Each Tuesday throughout the summer on the official Minnesota Gophers Facebook page (be sure to "like" us if you don't already!) we'll be highlighting a great moment in Gopher history to help populate our Facebook Timeline.
The Golden Gophers advanced to the 1990 Elite Eight by defeating UTEP, Northern Iowa, and Syracuse. Their memorable run ended in a hard-fought 93-91 loss to Georgia Tech. When Kevin Lynch's last-second three-point attempt missed, the final buzzer marked the end of a career for seniors Willie Burton, Richard Coffey, Melvin Newbern, Jim Shekenjanski, and Connell Lewis.
The most memorable member of the 1990 senior class was Burton. He led Minnesota with 35 points in the region final and remains the school record holder with 97 points in the 1990 Tournament and 171 career Tournament points. He led the Gophers in scoring for three seasons, and his career point total of 1,800 sits at No. 2 in Minnesota history.
Burton became a fan favorite at Williams Arena, known for his talent, passion, and the face mask he wore during the Gophers' 1989 Sweet 16 run. The face mask is on display in the T. Denny Sanford Athletics Hall of Fame at TCF Bank Stadium, and Burton's name will always be linked to two of the best seasons in Gopher history.
The 2012-13 season will be Minnesota's 14th time as a participant in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, but most of those games have been against just a couple different opponents. The Golden Gophers have faced Virginia four times, and this fall's matchup in Tallahassee will be their fourth Challenge duel against Florida State. Minnesota will look to snap its five-game road losing streak in the Challenge. Coincidentally, the Gophers' one road win in the Challenge came at Florida State.
With the announcement of the 2012 matchups today, GopherSports.com took a look back at the Gophers' Big Ten/ACC Challenge history against the Seminoles.
Bauer hit a key three-pointer late in the 2000 game.
In the second year of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Gophers took to the road. Coming off a loss to Georgetown in the Hawaii Pacific Thanksgiving Classic championship, they had extra motivation to win this game. The Gophers came out firing early, shooting 51.9 percent in the first half. Minnesota led, 35-33, at half time. The hot shooting continued after the break--the Gophers hit six of seven three-pointers in the second half.
The game stayed close the whole way. The Gophers trailed by five with six minutes to go. They took a 63-62 lead on a Terrence Simmons three with under four to go. After the Seminoles tied it up again, Michael Bauer hit a three to reclaim the lead for good. Simmons led the Gophers with 19 points. The victory gave Minnesota a 2-0 record in the Challenge, and helped the Big Ten win.
November 30, 2004 Florida State 70, Minnesota 69 The Gophers led for more than 36 minutes after Vincent Grier (who led the Gophers with 23 points) hit a three for the team's first points. But Florida State cut into the lead and then ended the game on a 21-6 run. The visiting Seminoles led by four with 14 seconds to go, and then Aaron Robinson hit a three for the Gophers with six seconds left. After a missed Seminole free throw, the Gophers had one last desperation shot, but it did not fall.
November 27, 2007 Florida State 75, Minnesota 61 The visiting Gophers took a 22-18 lead in the first half before Florida State began to take control with a 12-2 run. The loss was the first of Tubby Smith's tenure at Minnesota. The Gopher freshman class provided some bright spots, with Blake Hoffarber scoring a team-high 12 points off the bench and Al Nolen making his first career start.
"The season was one of those up-and-down seasons once again," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said in summarizing the Golden Gophers' 2011-12 campaign.
The team wrapped up its 23-15 season last week with a loss to Stanford in the NIT Championship. Advancing to Madison Square Garden was one of the biggest "ups" in that season. But the Gophers had to go through a lot of trials to make it that far. GopherSports.com took a look back at the season--with all its ups and downs--and what it means for the team's future.
Losing Mbakwe to an ACL tear was one of the toughest obstacles the Gophers faced this season.
THE DOWNS *Mbakwe out: On the day when the Gophers fell to Dayton in the Old Spice Classic championship, losing their undefeated start to the season was the least of their worries. Senior forward and leading scoring Trevor Mbakwe tore his ACL during the game. The Gophers had to finish out the season without his senior leadership, physicality, 14.0 points per game, and 9.1 rebounds per game. *Not just Mbakwe: The injury bug bit several other players on the team. The Gophers' other senior, Ralph Sampson III, missed three non-conference games and the team's final seven games with injuries. Injuries to Andre Hollins and Julian Welch caused constant shuffling around at the point guard position, and prevented either of the two from getting into a flow for much of the year. *Heartbreakers: The Gophers suffered their fair share of close losses this season, including three in overtime or double overtime. "I thought the tone was sort of set when we lost in a double-overtime game to Illinois," Smith said. "We had a chance to ice that game, and we didn't. I think that really affected our psyche and our ability to close games out." *When it rained, it poured: That loss in the Big Ten opener started a four-game losing streak. The Gophers bounced back with three straight wins, but added a six-game slide later in the conference season.
"When we were sitting at 12-1, we thought we were well-positioned to have a successful season, but obviously we didn't, with injuries and other things...But that's no excuse. We lost a lot of close games. We played in (six) overtime games. But I was impressed with how our kids kept their composure all year long. I was very pleased with our young players, especially our freshmen and sophomores, how they developed and how they matured." -Tubby Smith THE UPS *Youth movement: Following Mbakwe's injury, the Gophers rattled off six straight non-conference wins without the senior forward, and without Sampson in the first two. Junior Rodney Williams transitioned almost perfectly to the 4-spot with Mbakwe out, and redshirt freshman Elliott Eliason filled in admirably for Sampson. Freshman Joe Coleman went on a hot streak in the middle of the season. When Andre Hollins recovered from an ankle injury, he and Williams tag-teamed as the team's top scoring threats and on-court leaders. Sophomore Austin Hollins also showed significant improvement from last year.
Williams emerged as a team leader and major scoring threat.
*Making headlines: When the Gophers earned their first conference victory, they not only snapped a four-game losing streak, but also did so in style. They defeated No. 7/8 Indiana on its home court, earning a picture on ESPN's college basketball home page. *Minnesota record books: The Gophers led the Big Ten in blocks for the fourth consecutive year with 186, Tubby Smith earned his 100th win at Minnesota, and Ralph Sampson III joined an elite group (1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 150 blocks). *Resiliency: Although the Gophers finished 6-12 in Big Ten play each of the last two seasons, this season had a different feel to it than last season. This year's team responded better to injuries, having multiple players step up at different points throughout the year. This year's team also made it one round farther in the Big Ten Tournament and earned an invitation to the NIT. They exceeded expectations there, and Williams and Andre Hollins earned all-tournament honors with their stellar play. "I'm really proud of how (the Gophers) responded in postseason play," Smith said. "I thought it was truly a team effort to get the 23 wins that we did get."
LOOKING AHEAD "I like the guys that we have returning," Smith said. Barring any departures by non-seniors, the Gophers will bring back most of this year's roster. Williams will look to improve even more during his final year. By the end of this year, he looked more comfortable shooting jump shots, and further work on that aspect of his game during the summer could make him even more unstoppable. Andre Hollins will need to cut down on his turnovers, but he still had an impressive freshman season, and enters 2012-13 armed with all the experience he gained this year. Most of the other Gopher youngsters also showed improvement the season, and the Gophers return all five of their postseason starters, a good sign for the future.
Another good sign: Mbakwe was granted the option of a sixth year, and the Gophers have written to the NCAA about possibilities for keeping 16 players. If Mbakwe does choose to stay--an option he is currently leaning towards--the Gophers would still need to make sure that his knee is truly recovered before he is able to play. A healthy Mbakwe would give a huge boost to the Gophers in both rebounding and scoring. Maurice Walker, who also tore his ACL, should be ready to go for sure. He was participating fully in practice by the end of this season.
The possibility of players returning from injury, the team's postseason run, the emergence of several young players, and the incoming freshman class of Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs all give Gopher fans good reason to look forward to 2012-13.
Hollins at the Line Andre Hollins entered tonight's game with a streak of 17 consecutive made free throws, not having missed since going 2-for-3 in the NIT opener against La Salle. Following that night, he made two, eight, and seven in the next three games. He made the first of two on his first trip to the line tonight, extending the streak to 18, and then missed the second. He shot 21-24 from the line during the tournament, and finished 2011-12 with the school's best ever single-season free throw percentage, .904 (85-94). Hollins fell seven makes short of qualifying for the NCAA's leaders list.
Hollins set a Minnesota single-season record by shooting 90.4 percent.
Stingy Stanford After a pretty good start to the game, Minnesota went on a long drought. Julian Welch scored two points around the nine-minute mark in the first half, and that was the last field goal the Gophers made before heading to the locker room. Minnesota continued to struggle in the second half while Stanford shot 57.1 percent. The Cardinal finished with a 52.7 shooting percentage, and also became the first team since Wisconsin on February 28 to hold the Gophers (.373) below 40 percent from the field. Lenard's Record Stands Voshon Lenard's 99-point performance in 1993 remains the best single-tournament NIT scoring effort in school history. Rodney Williams was on pace to surpass Lenard, averaging 21.0 points per game in the NIT entering tonight's game. He started off hot tonight, scoring 10 points in the first 10 and a half minutes. But Williams struggled along with the rest of the Gophers down the stretch, and he only picked up two points in the second half before fouling out. He finished the tournament three points shy of Lenard's record.
Wrapping Up the NIT This marks the second time Minnesota has finished as runner-up in the NIT. The Gophers fell to Virginia, 58-55, in the 1980 title game. Minnesota's all-time NIT record now stands at 22-12 (or 28-13 when vacated games are included).
NEW YORK - The Gopher basketball team is staying right in the middle of Times Square, but hasn't let the bright lights of New York City distract them from the task at hand: Winning Minnesota's third NIT title tonight against Stanford Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
Andre Hollins is averaging 19.5 points per game in the postseason.
"We've shown a lot of heart, going on the road and winning three, then another on a neutral site," said Tubby Smith to the media Wednesday. "We've got our work cut out for us in a a very good Stanford team... I'm really proud of how [our guys] have stepped up."
If you'll be watching tonight's game (6 p.m. on ESPN with Mike Patrick, Bill Raftery and Fran Fraschilla on the call) one theme you'll undoubtedly hear will center around freshman guard Andre Hollins. The Memphis native was heavily recruited by both Stanford's Johnny Dawkins (as both the Pioneer Press' Marcus Fuller and the Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno discuss today) and Minnesota.
The latter part of the season, the freshman has been Minnesota's most dynamic playmaker and "is probably our best shooter" according to Smith. He's averaging 19.5 points per game in six postseason contests, with his back-to-back 20-point efforts against Northwestern and Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament making him the first Gopher to accomplish the feat since Blake Hoffarber in December of '09 (Rodney Williams saw his streak of four straight 20-point efforts come to an end Tuesday).
"If we're now seeing the real Andre Hollins, the Gophers are going to be in fine shape at the point in 2012-13," writes ESPN 1500's Judd Zulgad. Tubby Smith agrees:
"I think he's becoming a true point guard," said Smith of Andre on Wednesday. "I think he's getting closer."
"If you get to this point you probably deserve this opportunity," continued Smith. "I think our guys have earned this opportunity to compete for a championship."