After the Cooper commit: Constructing the roster.

Jeremyp

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Here is what I see and what we still need:

True Post—With Fox and Payne, I believe we have this position filled well for the next few years. Although, both are slightly undersized for Kofi Coburn/ David McCormick type centers, they both will be physical rebounders and rim protectors. I hope for them to average 12 points and 12 rebounds between them. At worst, an average B10 post presence with high upside

Stretch 4--Dawson Garcia and either Ihnen or Thompson (depends on Ihnen's ability to play the "3"). Garcia can truly score and maneuver inside or outside. Will be a problem for teams defensively as he and Battle are a perfect offensive match. Our stretch 4s will not be great rebounders but have some length and can guard undersized 4s on the perimeter. I see Dawson at 16/6.

Wing Forward--Battle and probably Ihnen. (also Stewart or Walton could play here). Very good scoring and solid rebounding and defense. Battle 16/6 also. Neither of the Forward spots have players who drive to the hole extensively which could be an issue when we are not hitting from outside.

2 positions: Wing/Combo Guard--5th starter and 6th man. Out of these 2 final spots left on our roster, I see Coach Johnson targeting 1. a true wing 6'6" kind of guy who can catch and shoot and play very good D, especially on quicker, smaller guards. Candidates include Stewart from Indiana, Walton (if he comes available in time), Jones from Davidson (still hearing Stanford). 2. A combo guard who can play 15 minutes a game at point and another 10 to 15 minutes on a wing. This guy needs to be able to drive to the hoop and have very good quickness to guard a very quick guard from another team. Currently we do not have one of those guys. Cooper is a good point guard and defender, but is not much of a driver or a guy who can defend a Ja Morant type who gets to the basket. Cooper's defensive ability is his strength, length and positioning. He can guard a forward easily, but no one on our roster is a quick ball hawking guard. Candidates are for combo guard: McIntosh from Elon, Thompson from Purdue, Strong from Illinois State.

Wing depth Henley will definitely develop into what they want for the wing position and has the athletic ability to be the slasher we are looking for. I still think he needs a year to get stronger and work on his technical skills. His body does resemble Coffey, but in the games I have seen him (3 or 4 total), skill development and growing into the body imo is still a little ways off

Combo Guard depth I think Carrington will get about 15 minutes of run this year per game. Very good skill wise but will still need to get stronger playing with 23 year olds.

Point Guard--Cooper is a pass first, strong smart and competitive point guard. Perfect when surrounded by shooters. Can guard 1/2 and 3s. Physical defender and rebounder. Pretty good outside shooter, but does not need to shoot to be effective. Tall and can see over defenses. Only issues are not a great driver and not overly quick offensively or defensively. That is why I think they need 1 very quick slasher and on the ball defender.

So, I think the 1st wing and the first combo guard to commit will get the last two positions. I would not be shocked to hear that Coach Johnson told a few of the guys to wait a week to commit as he is waiting on others. If we filled out the roster with any of the players listed above for each spot (Stewart, Walton, Jones and Mcintosh, Thompson, Strong) I would be tickled to death and think the roster would be constructed to be very consistent and an NCAA team not even on the bubble. That would be a lot of shooting and a good amount of strength. Depth would be about 8-9 deep.

It is interesting that the Gophers would have no seniors on the roster and although transfers could happen or Garcia could declare, there will not be many openings for 2023 recruits. First priority is for sure Chatman from Totino Grace. Anyone basing is college potential on only averaging 13 points per game or them not blowing out everybody is really missing the boat. He is one of those guys who is above average at every aspect of the game and will make an excellent college point guard. He is not amazing at anything, but I do not see a weakness in his game.

They will probably take 1 to 2 other recruits if they have room. That will include Winters if he wants it.
PG Cooper and combo guard
 

BTChamp

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Wow. Great post. I have exactly no in-depth information other than "They are good". But I also see so many available in game changes with what is here.

One question I have is you mentioned "Although, both are slightly undersized for Kofi Coburn/ David McCormick type centers". I see the point, but could that also be an advantage offensively due to not being that size? Potentially getting them in foul trouble. Just a question and trying to look for positives in any way I can.

Way too much analyzing for my brain, I'm tired now. I need a drink.
 

60's Guy

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"First priority is for sure Chatman from Totino Grace. Anyone basing is college potential on only averaging 13 points per game or them not blowing out everybody is really missing the boat."

Ya you guys! Remember, when you ask questions and preface them with the information you have never seen the kid play you might get criticized on here for being curious. :)
 

Jeremyp

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Wow. Great post. I have exactly no in-depth information other than "They are good". But I also see so many available in game changes with what is here.

One question I have is you mentioned "Although, both are slightly undersized for Kofi Coburn/ David McCormick type centers". I see the point, but could that also be an advantage offensively due to not being that size? Potentially getting them in foul trouble. Just a question and trying to look for positives in any way I can.

Way too much analyzing for my brain, I'm tired now. I need a drink.
Great question. They will for sure be quicker and more athletic than traditional bigs, but neither quite has the skill set to draw them out of the paint and make them guard them on the perimeter.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Personally concerned that Cooper cannot defend Ja Morant. Nice that our posts, Garcia and Battle will combine for 44 and 24….no way that isn’t realistic.
 


Lion King

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Wow. Great post. I have exactly no in-depth information other than "They are good". But I also see so many available in game changes with what is here.

One question I have is you mentioned "Although, both are slightly undersized for Kofi Coburn/ David McCormick type centers". I see the point, but could that also be an advantage offensively due to not being that size? Potentially getting them in foul trouble. Just a question and trying to look for positives in any way I can.

Way too much analyzing for my brain, I'm tired now. I need a drink.

Some guys got it all figured out !!!
Stop thinking and play the game
 

NorCalGopher

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Here is what I see and what we still need:

True Post—With Fox and Payne, I believe we have this position filled well for the next few years. Although, both are slightly undersized for Kofi Coburn/ David McCormick type centers, they both will be physical rebounders and rim protectors. I hope for them to average 12 points and 12 rebounds between them. At worst, an average B10 post presence with high upside

Stretch 4--Dawson Garcia and either Ihnen or Thompson (depends on Ihnen's ability to play the "3"). Garcia can truly score and maneuver inside or outside. Will be a problem for teams defensively as he and Battle are a perfect offensive match. Our stretch 4s will not be great rebounders but have some length and can guard undersized 4s on the perimeter. I see Dawson at 16/6.

Wing Forward--Battle and probably Ihnen. (also Stewart or Walton could play here). Very good scoring and solid rebounding and defense. Battle 16/6 also. Neither of the Forward spots have players who drive to the hole extensively which could be an issue when we are not hitting from outside.

2 positions: Wing/Combo Guard--5th starter and 6th man. Out of these 2 final spots left on our roster, I see Coach Johnson targeting 1. a true wing 6'6" kind of guy who can catch and shoot and play very good D, especially on quicker, smaller guards. Candidates include Stewart from Indiana, Walton (if he comes available in time), Jones from Davidson (still hearing Stanford). 2. A combo guard who can play 15 minutes a game at point and another 10 to 15 minutes on a wing. This guy needs to be able to drive to the hoop and have very good quickness to guard a very quick guard from another team. Currently we do not have one of those guys. Cooper is a good point guard and defender, but is not much of a driver or a guy who can defend a Ja Morant type who gets to the basket. Cooper's defensive ability is his strength, length and positioning. He can guard a forward easily, but no one on our roster is a quick ball hawking guard. Candidates are for combo guard: McIntosh from Elon, Thompson from Purdue, Strong from Illinois State.

Wing depth Henley will definitely develop into what they want for the wing position and has the athletic ability to be the slasher we are looking for. I still think he needs a year to get stronger and work on his technical skills. His body does resemble Coffey, but in the games I have seen him (3 or 4 total), skill development and growing into the body imo is still a little ways off

Combo Guard depth I think Carrington will get about 15 minutes of run this year per game. Very good skill wise but will still need to get stronger playing with 23 year olds.

Point Guard--Cooper is a pass first, strong smart and competitive point guard. Perfect when surrounded by shooters. Can guard 1/2 and 3s. Physical defender and rebounder. Pretty good outside shooter, but does not need to shoot to be effective. Tall and can see over defenses. Only issues are not a great driver and not overly quick offensively or defensively. That is why I think they need 1 very quick slasher and on the ball defender.

So, I think the 1st wing and the first combo guard to commit will get the last two positions. I would not be shocked to hear that Coach Johnson told a few of the guys to wait a week to commit as he is waiting on others. If we filled out the roster with any of the players listed above for each spot (Stewart, Walton, Jones and Mcintosh, Thompson, Strong) I would be tickled to death and think the roster would be constructed to be very consistent and an NCAA team not even on the bubble. That would be a lot of shooting and a good amount of strength. Depth would be about 8-9 deep.

It is interesting that the Gophers would have no seniors on the roster and although transfers could happen or Garcia could declare, there will not be many openings for 2023 recruits. First priority is for sure Chatman from Totino Grace. Anyone basing is college potential on only averaging 13 points per game or them not blowing out everybody is really missing the boat. He is one of those guys who is above average at every aspect of the game and will make an excellent college point guard. He is not amazing at anything, but I do not see a weakness in his game.

They will probably take 1 to 2 other recruits if they have room. That will include Winters if he wants it.
PG Cooper and combo guard
Even before the addition of Cooper, it seemed evident that landing Garcia had an instant impact on the roster in terms of (1) making the positions / lineups far more multidimensional and (2) getting Johnson yet one step closer to positionless basketball.

I would love to see this lineup at times, where all four wings & bigs on the court with Cooper can face the basket and extend the floor:

PG - Cooper (6-4)
W - Ihnen (6-9)
W - Battle (6-7)
B - Thompson (6-11)
B - Garcia (6-11)

Although probably a nightmare defensively.
 

EG#9

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Really, really good post.

My concerns with constructing the roster from this point forward come in the areas of dribble penetration, free throw attempts, and perimeter defense. I think you are right in that Johnson will likely add another Guard/Wing and a guy who is capable of playing some Point Guard with the remaining two scholarships. My issue is that the guys who have visited or are supposed to visit don't really appear to solve these issues (in the case of everyone but Parker Stewart, I've just watched highlights and looked at their stats on basketball-reference so I am not saying I am an expert on these guys).

Last year, Minnesota ranked 345th of 358 D1 teams in free throws attempted per game. Cooper barely got to the line at a low major and that would line up with your conclusion that he's not much of a driver either. I would think that would lean towards Johnson prioritizing an explosive athlete at the 2 who can share the ball handling and draw some fouls (while likely defending the 1 which I'll bring up later). Unfortunately, both Strong and Stewart are guys that barely get to the line themselves and take a plurality of their shots from 3. It should be noted that Stewart was both more of a playmaker and foul drawer in his one year at UT-Martin, but his years spent at high majors his role was much more limited on the offensive end. I am not saying there are not positives to these players as both these guys would allow the Gophers to be big (especially Stewart) 1-4 and have plus 3 point shooters (especially Strong last year) 1-4 in a theoretical starting lineup.

Defensively, if it is true that Cooper didn't guard 1's at the low major level, I don't think we can count on him doing that at the high major level. Stewart had one of the lowest defensive ratings on Indiana's team, but was middle of the pack on the team in defensive win shares. Strong also rated low in defensive rating at Illinois State, but was better in defensive win shares. Neither are perfect stats, but it's probably enough to stay neither comes with a "stopper" reputation. FWIW, Isaiah Thompson didn't perform well in either metric with Purdue this year if he's still in the conversation for a spot. I trust the report from GopherPlaya on McIntosh, but just to throw it out there he has the worst advanced defefensive stats of the 4 guys mentioned in this paragraph. I think a case can be made for one of Stewart/Strong, but I would hope the other scholarship would go to someone who could more clearly address the dribble penetration/foul drawing/guarding 1's issues.

One other point I'd like to make on defense is that I think it will be very important for someone to develop as a defensive option at forward off the bench. I could see Ihnen, Henley or Ola-Joseph be that guy. In an ideal scenario, this player spells both Garcia and Battle and allows the one who is currently in the game to take the lesser matchup at the forward spot. I think that will be an unsung role on the squad that will allow Garcia/Battle to stay fresh and limit foul trouble. The most likely guy is Ihnen being that he's in year 4, but Ola-Joseph impressed on defense on the Summer circuit last year.
 

HitMeAgainIAmStillMoving

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I just hope Ben learns what the wooden thing with players sitting on it is. If not Gophers can save money by only giving him five scholarships.
 



Gopherfan84

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Great question. They will for sure be quicker and more athletic than traditional bigs, but neither quite has the skill set to draw them out of the paint and make them guard them on the perimeter.
With ball screens and things like that you can pull them out (dependent on the coverage and scheme), but I agree neither Fox nor Payne can draw them out. Treyton would be able to because he can pop.
 

Gopherfan84

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Really, really good post.

My concerns with constructing the roster from this point forward come in the areas of dribble penetration, free throw attempts, and perimeter defense. I think you are right in that Johnson will likely add another Guard/Wing and a guy who is capable of playing some Point Guard with the remaining two scholarships. My issue is that the guys who have visited or are supposed to visit don't really appear to solve these issues (in the case of everyone but Parker Stewart, I've just watched highlights and looked at their stats on basketball-reference so I am not saying I am an expert on these guys).

Last year, Minnesota ranked 345th of 358 D1 teams in free throws attempted per game. Cooper barely got to the line at a low major and that would line up with your conclusion that he's not much of a driver either. I would think that would lean towards Johnson prioritizing an explosive athlete at the 2 who can share the ball handling and draw some fouls (while likely defending the 1 which I'll bring up later). Unfortunately, both Strong and Stewart are guys that barely get to the line themselves and take a plurality of their shots from 3. It should be noted that Stewart was both more of a playmaker and foul drawer in his one year at UT-Martin, but his years spent at high majors his role was much more limited on the offensive end. I am not saying there are not positives to these players as both these guys would allow the Gophers to be big (especially Stewart) 1-4 and have plus 3 point shooters (especially Strong last year) 1-4 in a theoretical starting lineup.

Defensively, if it is true that Cooper didn't guard 1's at the low major level, I don't think we can count on him doing that at the high major level. Stewart had one of the lowest defensive ratings on Indiana's team, but was middle of the pack on the team in defensive win shares. Strong also rated low in defensive rating at Illinois State, but was better in defensive win shares. Neither are perfect stats, but it's probably enough to stay neither comes with a "stopper" reputation. FWIW, Isaiah Thompson didn't perform well in either metric with Purdue this year if he's still in the conversation for a spot. I trust the report from GopherPlaya on McIntosh, but just to throw it out there he has the worst advanced defefensive stats of the 4 guys mentioned in this paragraph. I think a case can be made for one of Stewart/Strong, but I would hope the other scholarship would go to someone who could more clearly address the dribble penetration/foul drawing/guarding 1's issues.

One other point I'd like to make on defense is that I think it will be very important for someone to develop as a defensive option at forward off the bench. I could see Ihnen, Henley or Ola-Joseph be that guy. In an ideal scenario, this player spells both Garcia and Battle and allows the one who is currently in the game to take the lesser matchup at the forward spot. I think that will be an unsung role on the squad that will allow Garcia/Battle to stay fresh and limit foul trouble. The most likely guy is Ihnen being that he's in year 4, but Ola-Joseph impressed on defense on the Summer circuit last year.
Good thoughts here. Here is some things I"d add.

1. On lack of FTA stat I'd put that much more on lack of post offense and just our offensive system in general last year. Guys like Garcia, Fox, and Payne will help in the free throw line category. Also Battle will be having different guys defend him this year with Garcia in the mix.

2. Totally agree on perimeter defense. This will be the make or break for us this season I believe. If we are in the top 40 defensively, we are a lock for an NCAA bid imo. I'm interested to see how the supposed added depth will help us. Loewe will be missed her as our stopper.
 

fan of Ray Williams

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Good thoughts here. Here is some things I"d add.

1. On lack of FTA stat I'd put that much more on lack of post offense and just our offensive system in general last year. Guys like Garcia, Fox, and Payne will help in the free throw line category. Also Battle will be having different guys defend him this year with Garcia in the mix.

2. Totally agree on perimeter defense. This will be the make or break for us this season I believe. If we are in the top 40 defensively, we are a lock for an NCAA bid imo. I'm interested to see how the supposed added depth will help us. Loewe will be missed here as our stopper.
Yes and Sutherlin also. When Loewe had someone just a little too quick, Ben would occasionally use Sean on him. Sean was quick and strong and would bully them a little.
 








GopherPlaya

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I think Payne has a better outside shot than Thompson.
This is definitely somewhat true but Thompson is more comfortable shooting from outside. Payne also shoots better Js compared to Thompson when in high school. Thompson used to have the I think I’m KD syndrome at times
 

Fleckoff

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If we fill the roster out with Strong and Stewart, I think it will look something like this at the start of the year

Cooper 25-28 minutes a game
Stewart 18-22 minutes a game
Battle 32-36 minutes a game
Garcia 32-36 minutes a game
Fox 22-28 Minutes (15-20 as "the five" slides to the four when Garcia is out)
Six Man Strong 20-25 minutes (all the back up PG minutes, 8-12 minutes at the SG spot as well)
Seventh Man Payne 20-25 minutes strictly as a five
Eighth Man Carrington 5-10 minutes a game
9th Man Ihnen/Hensley/JOJ 4-8 Minutes, will see one of them come in to Spell Battle
10th Man Thompson If Payne and Fox get into foul trouble will see him, hopefully we work him in the non con for a rotation in the first half

Could see Payne taking the five spot by the end of the year, I could even see Carrington starting, or if they get Strong and Stewart goes elsewhere, I could see them not forcing the issue and Starting Strong and increasing his minutes along with Carrington's bench role. Should be a good Battle for that 9th spot on the roster, suppose it would depend on the match up, could see Ihnen taking Garcia back up minutes as well as I am not sure he's quick enough to guard the perimeter, I have more confidence in Hensley in that regard.
 

Gopherfan84

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Thought Payne had an okay 3pt shot too, hopefully someone can confirm or deny
Yeah it's definitely something he can do and bring. It's more of a catch and shoot thing vs. a create thing on the perimeter with him, but I think he'll get there.
 



Costa Rican Gopher

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If we fill the roster out with Strong and Stewart, I think it will look something like this at the start of the year

Cooper 25-28 minutes a game
Stewart 18-22 minutes a game
Battle 32-36 minutes a game
Garcia 32-36 minutes a game
Fox 22-28 Minutes (15-20 as "the five" slides to the four when Garcia is out)
Six Man Strong 20-25 minutes (all the back up PG minutes, 8-12 minutes at the SG spot as well)
Seventh Man Payne 20-25 minutes strictly as a five
Eighth Man Carrington 5-10 minutes a game
9th Man Ihnen/Hensley/JOJ 4-8 Minutes, will see one of them come in to Spell Battle
10th Man Thompson If Payne and Fox get into foul trouble will see him, hopefully we work him in the non con for a rotation in the first half

Could see Payne taking the five spot by the end of the year, I could even see Carrington starting, or if they get Strong and Stewart goes elsewhere, I could see them not forcing the issue and Starting Strong and increasing his minutes along with Carrington's bench role. Should be a good Battle for that 9th spot on the roster, suppose it would depend on the match up, could see Ihnen taking Garcia back up minutes as well as I am not sure he's quick enough to guard the perimeter, I have more confidence in Hensley in that regard.

Best take I've read so far on here so far.
 

Chico Gopher

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Really, really good post.

My concerns with constructing the roster from this point forward come in the areas of dribble penetration, free throw attempts, and perimeter defense. I think you are right in that Johnson will likely add another Guard/Wing and a guy who is capable of playing some Point Guard with the remaining two scholarships. My issue is that the guys who have visited or are supposed to visit don't really appear to solve these issues (in the case of everyone but Parker Stewart, I've just watched highlights and looked at their stats on basketball-reference so I am not saying I am an expert on these guys).

Last year, Minnesota ranked 345th of 358 D1 teams in free throws attempted per game. Cooper barely got to the line at a low major and that would line up with your conclusion that he's not much of a driver either. I would think that would lean towards Johnson prioritizing an explosive athlete at the 2 who can share the ball handling and draw some fouls (while likely defending the 1 which I'll bring up later). Unfortunately, both Strong and Stewart are guys that barely get to the line themselves and take a plurality of their shots from 3. It should be noted that Stewart was both more of a playmaker and foul drawer in his one year at UT-Martin, but his years spent at high majors his role was much more limited on the offensive end. I am not saying there are not positives to these players as both these guys would allow the Gophers to be big (especially Stewart) 1-4 and have plus 3 point shooters (especially Strong last year) 1-4 in a theoretical starting lineup.

Defensively, if it is true that Cooper didn't guard 1's at the low major level, I don't think we can count on him doing that at the high major level. Stewart had one of the lowest defensive ratings on Indiana's team, but was middle of the pack on the team in defensive win shares. Strong also rated low in defensive rating at Illinois State, but was better in defensive win shares. Neither are perfect stats, but it's probably enough to stay neither comes with a "stopper" reputation. FWIW, Isaiah Thompson didn't perform well in either metric with Purdue this year if he's still in the conversation for a spot. I trust the report from GopherPlaya on McIntosh, but just to throw it out there he has the worst advanced defefensive stats of the 4 guys mentioned in this paragraph. I think a case can be made for one of Stewart/Strong, but I would hope the other scholarship would go to someone who could more clearly address the dribble penetration/foul drawing/guarding 1's issues.

One other point I'd like to make on defense is that I think it will be very important for someone to develop as a defensive option at forward off the bench. I could see Ihnen, Henley or Ola-Joseph be that guy. In an ideal scenario, this player spells both Garcia and Battle and allows the one who is currently in the game to take the lesser matchup at the forward spot. I think that will be an unsung role on the squad that will allow Garcia/Battle to stay fresh and limit foul trouble. The most likely guy is Ihnen being that he's in year 4, but Ola-Joseph impressed on defense on the Summer circuit last year.
I'm glad that somebody is asking the questions about our perimeter defensive abilities. I'm sure we have some nice tools, but I appreciate you taking a deeper look into it. As we all know; offense makes basketball fun to watch, but it's defense that gets championships.
 

Pete smith

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Well since Kofi is gone we won’t have to worry about him. How about A,J,Green from UNI for one of the shooting guards? Better than anything we have recruited thus far.
 

Gophs24

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Well since Kofi is gone we won’t have to worry about him. How about A,J,Green from UNI for one of the shooting guards? Better than anything we have recruited thus far.
hes going to Iowa State to join his dad....if its anywhere else i would be shocked
 

MNVCGUY

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I'm glad that somebody is asking the questions about our perimeter defensive abilities. I'm sure we have some nice tools, but I appreciate you taking a deeper look into it. As we all know; offense makes basketball fun to watch, but it's defense that gets championships.
It would seem like our perimeter defense might be ok with a roster full of size and length, defending the lane and dealing with a lot of quickness and penetration would maybe be tougher. But honeslty I have no clue, just have to trust that Johnson has a plan with what he is putting together and that the pieces will fit neatly into place when the team takes the court.

Will be fun to see how it all shakes out. At the moment the prospects for 22-23 look way better than they did for 21-22 so that is exciting. Just how much better remains to be seen.
 

Gophs24

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If we fill the roster out with Strong and Stewart, I think it will look something like this at the start of the year

Cooper 25-28 minutes a game
Stewart 18-22 minutes a game
Battle 32-36 minutes a game
Garcia 32-36 minutes a game
Fox 22-28 Minutes (15-20 as "the five" slides to the four when Garcia is out)
Six Man Strong 20-25 minutes (all the back up PG minutes, 8-12 minutes at the SG spot as well)
Seventh Man Payne 20-25 minutes strictly as a five
Eighth Man Carrington 5-10 minutes a game
9th Man Ihnen/Hensley/JOJ 4-8 Minutes, will see one of them come in to Spell Battle
10th Man Thompson If Payne and Fox get into foul trouble will see him, hopefully we work him in the non con for a rotation in the first half

Could see Payne taking the five spot by the end of the year, I could even see Carrington starting, or if they get Strong and Stewart goes elsewhere, I could see them not forcing the issue and Starting Strong and increasing his minutes along with Carrington's bench role. Should be a good Battle for that 9th spot on the roster, suppose it would depend on the match up, could see Ihnen taking Garcia back up minutes as well as I am not sure he's quick enough to guard the perimeter, I have more confidence in Hensley in that regard.
great write up

my two cents
Payne wont get that many minutes.
Henley will play more then Carrington
Ihnen will get ore then 4-8 minutes a game will will bring Paynes minutes down
JOJ & Thiam wont see the floor much at all
 

CoMn

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Really, really good post.

My concerns with constructing the roster from this point forward come in the areas of dribble penetration, free throw attempts, and perimeter defense. I think you are right in that Johnson will likely add another Guard/Wing and a guy who is capable of playing some Point Guard with the remaining two scholarships. My issue is that the guys who have visited or are supposed to visit don't really appear to solve these issues (in the case of everyone but Parker Stewart, I've just watched highlights and looked at their stats on basketball-reference so I am not saying I am an expert on these guys).

Last year, Minnesota ranked 345th of 358 D1 teams in free throws attempted per game. Cooper barely got to the line at a low major and that would line up with your conclusion that he's not much of a driver either. I would think that would lean towards Johnson prioritizing an explosive athlete at the 2 who can share the ball handling and draw some fouls (while likely defending the 1 which I'll bring up later). Unfortunately, both Strong and Stewart are guys that barely get to the line themselves and take a plurality of their shots from 3. It should be noted that Stewart was both more of a playmaker and foul drawer in his one year at UT-Martin, but his years spent at high majors his role was much more limited on the offensive end. I am not saying there are not positives to these players as both these guys would allow the Gophers to be big (especially Stewart) 1-4 and have plus 3 point shooters (especially Strong last year) 1-4 in a theoretical starting lineup.

Defensively, if it is true that Cooper didn't guard 1's at the low major level, I don't think we can count on him doing that at the high major level. Stewart had one of the lowest defensive ratings on Indiana's team, but was middle of the pack on the team in defensive win shares. Strong also rated low in defensive rating at Illinois State, but was better in defensive win shares. Neither are perfect stats, but it's probably enough to stay neither comes with a "stopper" reputation. FWIW, Isaiah Thompson didn't perform well in either metric with Purdue this year if he's still in the conversation for a spot. I trust the report from GopherPlaya on McIntosh, but just to throw it out there he has the worst advanced defefensive stats of the 4 guys mentioned in this paragraph. I think a case can be made for one of Stewart/Strong, but I would hope the other scholarship would go to someone who could more clearly address the dribble penetration/foul drawing/guarding 1's issues.

One other point I'd like to make on defense is that I think it will be very important for someone to develop as a defensive option at forward off the bench. I could see Ihnen, Henley or Ola-Joseph be that guy. In an ideal scenario, this player spells both Garcia and Battle and allows the one who is currently in the game to take the lesser matchup at the forward spot. I think that will be an unsung role on the squad that will allow Garcia/Battle to stay fresh and limit foul trouble. The most likely guy is Ihnen being that he's in year 4, but Ola-Joseph impressed on defense on the Summer circuit last year.
Defense is mostly effort. One thing that depth brings is the ability to demand effort for playing time. Last year's team played better defense than I ever saw in the Pitino era. I would imagine Johnson is not going to give playing time to anyone who doesn't play solid defense. We have so much more depth this year too that we can do things we couldn't do last year. We won't have the fear of having a starter foul out or get injured. Depth brings so much to a team....and compared to last years team....having 9-10 players who are capable of giving some number of solid minutes on a big 10 team is going to be awesome
 

VolitileGopher

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Good thoughts here. Here is some things I"d add.

1. On lack of FTA stat I'd put that much more on lack of post offense and just our offensive system in general last year. Guys like Garcia, Fox, and Payne will help in the free throw line category. Also Battle will be having different guys defend him this year with Garcia in the mix.

2. Totally agree on perimeter defense. This will be the make or break for us this season I believe. If we are in the top 40 defensively, we are a lock for an NCAA bid imo. I'm interested to see how the supposed added depth will help us. Loewe will be missed her as our stopper.
WIth regard to FTA, keep in mind Minnesota was 356 out of 358 in terms of offensive rebound percentage. Instead of fighting for boards, they got back and didn't even both with second chance points. As the team becomes more athletic, second chance possessions should increase, meaning FTA should improve with those extra possessions.
 




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