The Men in the Middle: Gopher Basketball Summer Camp
Aug. 17, 2012
By Justine Buerkle
Sampson became just the fifth Gopher ever to collect 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 150 blocks. But he was hampered by injuries during his senior season, and missed the Big Ten Tournament and NIT.
Elliott Eliason filled in admirably while Sampson was out. The redshirt freshman got his first taste of the starting lineup during the nonconference schedule when Sampson missed a few games with an ankle injury.
*Walker needs to make sure he is in playing condition. After he had largely recovered from ACL surgery, he suffered a setback when he hurt his ankle in practice near the end of the season. Associate head coach Ron Jirsa said Walker has done a good job with conditioning so far, a positive sign for the Gophers.
It will be good for the Gophers to have Walker back after his season of rehab. His big frame will be a plus in the post, and he does have a partial collegiate season under his belt.
Andre Ingram could potentially play at the center spot if needed, but is more suited for power forward. Eliason and Walker should be able to rotate in and out for each other.
With Sampson’s graduation, the Gophers will have a more youthful rotation at center. Senior Trevor Mbakwe could spend some time playing the 5-spot, but his primary position is power forward, so it will largely be up to the younger players to patrol the low post.