Ben Johnson is NOT a disaster....


fan of Ray Williams

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Another solid player is likely putting Fox or Ihnen on the bench. With all the TV timeouts and breaks, it's hard to play more than 8-9 guys.
Now that Braeden is back, agree, things look better. If he would have stayed out, wouldn’t have been. Then you’re down to 3 guards. Injuries and illness happen.
 

007gopherfan

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Think there a lot of people hoping he can run the program, just little patience to know that it takes a lot to operate in this tough big 10 conference. Be interesting to see how rest of the year goes and if they all stay here for next year. Has a built himself a solid foundation to build upon now. Hopefully he can run with it! Things will only get tougher as the year goes on.
 

PMWinSTP

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Think there a lot of people hoping he can run the program, just little patience to know that it takes a lot to operate in this tough big 10 conference. Be interesting to see how rest of the year goes and if they all stay here for next year. Has a built himself a solid foundation to build upon now. Hopefully he can run with it! Things will only get tougher as the year goes on.
 

Dakota2

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there are really two separate issues at work here:

1. Ben Johnson's ability as a coach and

2. some people believe Johnson never should have been hired because he didn't have the qualifications - he may have been a "diversity" hire - and/or they wanted a different coach

the people who just don't think he can coach may change their mind if the team wins enough games.

the second group is probably never going to change their minds about the hiring. But if the team wins enough games, I hope that they will at least give Johnson some grudging respect - even if they would rather have seen someone else get the job.
The issue of his credentials was not really much of a controversy. He didn't have anything approaching experience wanted for a Big Ten head coaching job. But that was -- or should have been -- over as soon as he was announced. It was done and out of the hands of fans or anyone else.

The unfairness has been in the criticism of his coaching. Yes, roster construction is his job and he had two weak rosters his first two years. But, just as in hiring a coach, the question was who would take the job? And who wanted to come and play at Minnesota? The answer was, not good coaches and not many good players.

You can't judge a guy's coaching ability and basketball acumen based on teams with limited talent and no depth. In fact, if anything, he did a great job in Year 1 with what he had. Battle was the only transfer in who could even possibly be projected to compete in the Big Ten.

Year 3 he has some talent, last year's freshman have reached Clem's 40 game threshold, and Hawkins and Mitchell are better than most dared to hope. Cristie is what most thought he would be.

Now is the time to start considering whether he can coach or not.
 


MNVCGUY

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Now is the time to start considering whether he can coach or not.
I would add that now is also when you start judging his ability to assemble and maintain a roster. Year one was a brutal situation having to build a roster from scratch and dealing with season ending injuries to 2 players. Year two involved a heavy reliance on true freshman once again in part due to 2 preseason season ending injuries.

Now in year three he has a foundation to build around. It will be on Johnson to maintain a solid base while adding pieces around it through the portal or recruiting. From here on out if the roster is a mess due to anything other than injuries it will be entirely on Johnson.
 

bga1

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The issue of his credentials was not really much of a controversy. He didn't have anything approaching experience wanted for a Big Ten head coaching job. But that was -- or should have been -- over as soon as he was announced. It was done and out of the hands of fans or anyone else.

The unfairness has been in the criticism of his coaching. Yes, roster construction is his job and he had two weak rosters his first two years. But, just as in hiring a coach, the question was who would take the job? And who wanted to come and play at Minnesota? The answer was, not good coaches and not many good players.

You can't judge a guy's coaching ability and basketball acumen based on teams with limited talent and no depth. In fact, if anything, he did a great job in Year 1 with what he had. Battle was the only transfer in who could even possibly be projected to compete in the Big Ten.

Year 3 he has some talent, last year's freshman have reached Clem's 40 game threshold, and Hawkins and Mitchell are better than most dared to hope. Cristie is what most thought he would be.

Now is the time to start considering whether he can coach or not.
I agree with your post but....Willis...
 

MNVCGUY

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I agree with your post but....Willis...
Willis played significantly better than most expected but agree that he should have been included with Battle as big ten level transfers. The rest were more crap shoots, experienced guys who had done well at lower levels but were no sure thing to be able to compete in the Big Ten.
 

TwistingMyMelon

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Willis played significantly better than most expected but agree that he should have been included with Battle as big ten level transfers. The rest were more crap shoots, experienced guys who had done well at lower levels but were no sure thing to be able to compete in the Big Ten.

Certainly Willis could have been projected as a Big Ten starter because he already had been one but, otherwise, I agree entirely with Dakota's fine post.

Willis was in his 6th post-high school year and fifth year of playing during his second stint here. There are plenty examples across the country of guys from lower-level schools (technically, we can't count Willis as one of those because he spent most of his college career at P6 schools) who have really thrived in that 5th playing year at higher-level programs. Maturity and experience really help even if most of that maturation occurred at a lower level. We won't see that much in the coming years. Next season is going to be the last year of that for players unless they redshirted in a previous year.
 



SplitDecision

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Coach Johnson is playing 3D chess, while the GH message board is doing checkers. CBJ had nothing to start with. The team left after Pitino and everyone else was injured. Covid smeared everything else. Excuses? YES. Very valid excuses, but CBJ never whined about it. He is trying to build something special from the ground up, with the "right players", those guys that put team first, are unselfish, are coachable, and won't make stupid decisions to ruin the program (which has been well documented). That eliminates a LOT of potential transfers and recruits. Yet, he has been able to finally get "his guys" into the program healthy, believing what they are doing, and garnering interest from good recruits. Youngsters have also gotten playing time to shorten their learning curve. Sophomores are suddenly impactful. He takes measured steps forward. I think he's starting something big at MN that will change the trajectory of MN basketball from "a jinxed, perennially troubled patchwork program" to a culture of tough, gritty, hardnosed, basketball moving forward. A true MN brand. Support in this venture would be helpful.
 

SplitDecision

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Following up on CBJ getting the "right guys", a fairly deep dive into Gopher statistics since 2008:

*Cam Christie has the 2nd highest Offensive Rating behind Hoffarber

*Hawkins has the highest Assist Rate (38.6%) by far over Al Nolen and Nate Mason (28.9% and is leading in Usage Time on the floor over Oturu and Murphy.

*Payne leads Effective FG% at 67.7%

*True Shooting % led by Payne 62.8, and second is Ola-Joseph 61.8

*2PT% also led by Payne and Ola-Joseph (Rodney Williams 3rd)

*Cam Christie is second in Turnover % at 12.2 right behind Nate Mason (12%)

*Free Throw Rate led by Payne at 69.2%. Followed by Nolen, Reggie Lynch, Murphy

*3PT% led by Ola-Joseph at 44%, 4th place since 2008 is Mitchell at 42%

These may be smaller sample sizes on the current underclassmen, but the point is that they can play and win with those numbers extended/improved upon.
 

PMWinSTP

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Heard Ben was on KFAN morning show. Plan to go back and listen.
 







MNVCGUY

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They're not valid excuses, every coach has dealt with the same thing. And he did whine about it, regularly.
Dude you gotta come off this one some. The portal does make it more possible to have a quick rebuild but it doesn't guarantee that a team can rebuild an entire roster in one year and win at a high level.

I know you don't want to hear it but the first time head coach thing plays into it as well. An established head coach is going to be much more likely to have a quick turn around than a first time guy who is learning on the job (that isn't Johnson's fault, if you want to blame someone for that it is Coyle).

But hey, if there are examples of first time (not first year at a new school) head coaches that have come in, rebuilt a roster and won at a high level right away I would love to see them. Especially at a major conference like the Big Ten. I mean if it is as easy as you think it is there should be lots of examples.
 

GophersInIowa

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Dude you gotta come off this one some. The portal does make it more possible to have a quick rebuild but it doesn't guarantee that a team can rebuild an entire roster in one year and win at a high level.

I know you don't want to hear it but the first time head coach thing plays into it as well. An established head coach is going to be much more likely to have a quick turn around than a first time guy who is learning on the job (that isn't Johnson's fault, if you want to blame someone for that it is Coyle).

But hey, if there are examples of first time (not first year at a new school) head coaches that have come in, rebuilt a roster and won at a high level right away I would love to see them. Especially at a major conference like the Big Ten. I mean if it is as easy as you think it is there should be lots of examples.
I think Johnson didn't help himself as year 1 was essentially a waste in terms of developing for the future. Obviously he couldn't help the injuries of Fox and Ihnen but there is no one from that team that is still at MN. I know there wasn't much he could do with recruiting freshman at that point but it would have been nice to get a few more transfer that had more than one year of eligibility left.

From a rebuild standpoint, this is really Year 2.
 

CPTMidnight

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there are really two separate issues at work here:

1. Ben Johnson's ability as a coach and

2. some people believe Johnson never should have been hired because he didn't have the qualifications - he may have been a "diversity" hire - and/or they wanted a different coach

the people who just don't think he can coach may change their mind if the team wins enough games.

the second group is probably never going to change their minds about the hiring. But if the team wins enough games, I hope that they will at least give Johnson some grudging respect - even if they would rather have seen someone else get the job.
One could think that diversity hires are a bad idea yet still hope that a diversity hire does well and wins the job on merit once they are hired.
 

MNVCGUY

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I think Johnson didn't help himself as year 1 was essentially a waste in terms of developing for the future. Obviously he couldn't help the injuries of Fox and Ihnen but there is no one from that team that is still at MN. I know there wasn't much he could do with recruiting freshman at that point but it would have been nice to get a few more transfer that had more than one year of eligibility left.

From a rebuild standpoint, this is really Year 2.
Oh man....don't make comments like, this is year 2 because that will really setup off the Negative crowd as now you would be saying a year doesn't count..... :)

It was pretty clear that they wanted to bring in a big freshman class in year 2 so they needed to have a bunch of guys with only one year left as transfers to fill out that first roster. Thompson being a complete bust didn't help matters, Thiam was a wasted scholarship and then Fox and Ihnen both got hurt.

Would be interesting to know if Johnson would take a different approach to that first year if he had it to do all over again. Would be put more of an emphasis on younger transfers and a smaller recruiting class, or would he go a similar route to the one he did?
 

Bigg Robb

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The remaining schedule is going to be night and day difference in difficulty. The optimism is great. However, if we were playing Michigan States or Wisconsin's schedule, we'd probably have 6 wins on the year. Non conference schedule was a joke and we've played a couple of really bad Big Ten teams.
 

MNVCGUY

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The remaining schedule is going to be night and day difference in difficulty. The optimism is great. However, if we were playing Michigan States or Wisconsin's schedule, we'd probably have 6 wins on the year. Non conference schedule was a joke and we've played a couple of really bad Big Ten teams.
Tougher because it is conference games sure.....but I haven't seen a lot of teams in the Big Ten that are truly scary this year and if this team continues to play well they should be at the very least competitive in most of the games.
 

GophersInIowa

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Oh man....don't make comments like, this is year 2 because that will really setup off the Negative crowd as now you would be saying a year doesn't count..... :)

It was pretty clear that they wanted to bring in a big freshman class in year 2 so they needed to have a bunch of guys with only one year left as transfers to fill out that first roster. Thompson being a complete bust didn't help matters, Thiam was a wasted scholarship and then Fox and Ihnen both got hurt.

Would be interesting to know if Johnson would take a different approach to that first year if he had it to do all over again. Would be put more of an emphasis on younger transfers and a smaller recruiting class, or would he go a similar route to the one he did?
It's year 3 of Johnson's tenure, not saying otherwise. There's just nothing to build on from year 1. It counts obviously. It just didn't help the program moving forward.
 

BarnBurner

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Dude you gotta come off this one some. The portal does make it more possible to have a quick rebuild but it doesn't guarantee that a team can rebuild an entire roster in one year and win at a high level.

I know you don't want to hear it but the first time head coach thing plays into it as well. An established head coach is going to be much more likely to have a quick turn around than a first time guy who is learning on the job (that isn't Johnson's fault, if you want to blame someone for that it is Coyle).

But hey, if there are examples of first time (not first year at a new school) head coaches that have come in, rebuilt a roster and won at a high level right away I would love to see them. Especially at a major conference like the Big Ten. I mean if it is as easy as you think it is there should be lots of examples.
No one said it was easy. No one.

Cbj protection detail.
 

MNVCGUY

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It's year 3 of Johnson's tenure, not saying otherwise. There's just nothing to build on from year 1. It counts obviously. It just didn't help the program moving forward.
I get what you are saying......just having fun with the year 0 concept that still comes up sometimes on the football board :)

The main thing year one did was leave them the flexibility to sign 5 freshman in year 2 and 3 of those players are big contributors on this team with a chance to get even better as they progress through their college careers.
 

howeda7

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I think Johnson didn't help himself as year 1 was essentially a waste in terms of developing for the future. Obviously he couldn't help the injuries of Fox and Ihnen but there is no one from that team that is still at MN. I know there wasn't much he could do with recruiting freshman at that point but it would have been nice to get a few more transfer that had more than one year of eligibility left.

From a rebuild standpoint, this is really Year 2.
It also seems like he didn't try very hard to convince anyone to stay. It's a bit weak to say "everyone left" when it didn't have to be that way. Sure Carr wasn't going to stay and neither was Mashburn. But the guy who went Oregon State and Both Gach both might have, etc.
 

MNVCGUY

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It also seems like he didn't try very hard to convince anyone to stay. It's a bit weak to say "everyone left" when it didn't have to be that way. Sure Carr wasn't going to stay and neither was Mashburn. But the guy who went Oregon State and Both Gach both might have, etc.
Tough to say who he may or may not have been able to get to stay but the 3 top guys (Robbins, Mashburn, and Carr were gone seemingly no matter what) and Gabe really seemed to need a change of scenery. The other part is we really have no way of knowing how hard they did or didn't try to retain guys.

It was a messy situation, especially for a first time head coach.
 

howeda7

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Tough to say who he may or may not have been able to get to stay but the 3 top guys (Robbins, Mashburn, and Carr were gone seemingly no matter what) and Gabe really seemed to need a change of scenery. The other part is we really have no way of knowing how hard they did or didn't try to retain guys.

It was a messy situation, especially for a first time head coach.
Robbins likely would have stayed if they kept Conroy, which I think they should have (not just because of that.). Gabe/Mashburn and Carr were probably gone no matter what. But keeping even a couple of the others would have helped. All 1st year coaches that season had a challenge with that being the first year of the "new portal" but he wasn't in some totally unique situation here.
 

stocker08

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It also seems like he didn't try very hard to convince anyone to stay. It's a bit weak to say "everyone left" when it didn't have to be that way. Sure Carr wasn't going to stay and neither was Mashburn. But the guy who went Oregon State and Both Gach both might have, etc.

Tre Williams I assume? Sure.....maybe keeping him and Gach would have translated into a couple more wins that first year.....but those guys weren't going to make Johnson's teams successful. The starting quality guys from Pitino's final year weren't sticking around.
 

fan of Ray Williams

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Tre Williams I assume? Sure.....maybe keeping him and Gach would have translated into a couple more wins that first year.....but those guys weren't going to make Johnson's teams successful. The starting quality guys from Pitino's final year weren't sticking around.
Brandon Johnson would have helped. Tre and Booth? Hard pass.
 




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