Ben Johnson makes it clear: Gophers will be all about ferocious defense; Johnson says Ihnen could be one of the best defenders in BT

cjbfbp

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Ben gets the benefit of the doubt but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m a little jaded by coach speak that talks up players that don’t live up to the hype. The injury recovery subdues my confidence as well. I hope he turns out as good as Ben projects but there is a tall ladder to climb for Ihnen.

Yes, I'd rather trust my own eyes than coach speak in the off-season. When it comes to Ihnen, though, I do believe he can be a pretty effective defender (if fully recovered) based on what I have seen in the past. He appears to have quick reflexes and a long wingspan, was an effective interior defender in the past, and was tough for ball handlers to dribble around (or shoot over) when he played a little further from the basket. I would have less confidence about him chasing around quick guards on the perimeter though.
 

Dakota2

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That's reasonable. I do like that Ben has narrowed the focus to defense. It is defense and rebounding in space that I believe Ihnen can be a difference maker. Can he be a good offensive player? We haven't seen that, but in his sophomore year we did see flashes of what Ben is talking about. For him, I think the idea of finding one thing to be great at and letting the rest come with the process is a really good approach. Ihnen has size, speed and hops that you can't find everywhere.
I don't put much stock in what Ihnen did the first two years, good or bad. He played on poorly coached teams. All anyone knows for sure is that he was a good athlete with height and length.

We will see what that raw athleticism can produce with good coaching and a disciplined system.
 

kg21

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Does he have 2 or 3 years left?
 

Pete smith

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per Joe:

Johnson said he's spent time with the team breaking down film of recent champions, including the Baylor Bears NCAA title in 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021 and even the Bobby Jackson-led Sacramento Kings summer league team last year.

"You're showing guys, 'Fellas, I don't care what sport you look at – baseball, football, basketball – if you're trying to win a championship, you can't be middle to bottom half of the league in defense. It's impossible. And here's the numbers that back it up. You want to look at any championship that's won, I guarantee you that if they're not No. 1, they're top five. Hands down. College, pros, it don't matter," said Johnson.

"That's when you tell guys, if you wanna win and if you're about what I think you're about, then this is a non-negotiable. This is not a debate. We're not sitting here going back and forth. I've shown you the data, I've shown you the proof, you guys know, now it comes down to you. I try to put it on them. If you're about what you tell me you're about, then we're going to give it up on this end of the ball. And that's just the way it is. If you're not going to do it, then that next guy's going to do it. We'll figure out the five guys that are going to commit to the defensive side of the ball."

Ihnen, who missed all of last season recovering from a knee injury, could be a huge part of Minnesota's defensive mindset. At 6'10'', Johnson has big hopes for the native German, who he believes could be one of the best, if not the best, defensive player in the Big Ten.

"If you're the most versatile defender in the Big Ten and that's who you become, I guarantee you someone at the next level is going to notice," said Johnson, noting that he's encouraging Ihnen to assume the identity of a fierce defender and all-around player, rather than trying to be a scorer.

"Again, I try to tell Isaiah this and I told my staff this the other day: His impact, because of who he is and his size and his versatility, it's different than most players I've ever had. He's not a guy that has to go out there and get points. I try to tell him that. You're not going to help our team and you're not going to make the NBA because you're going to go out there and get 20 a game. Obviously if he did that, great. But that not necessarily determines your success rate. You're a guy, at 6'10'', if you can guard the point like [Scottie] Pippen used to do back in the day full court, that's different. That's going to impact our team. That's going to put you on the radar because you just don't see that anymore. If your versatility to guard 1 through 4, 1 through 5 even, that's different. That's a separator for you," Johnson explained.


Go Gophers!!
Coach speak. The proof is in the pudding.
 

alchemy2u

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Coach speak. The proof is in the pudding.
Would you rather have him not say anything or be real noncommittal on his plans? I do not really see this as coach speak, it sounds like he is really talking fro the heart on what he wants to accomplish and what he expects. Of course we will all see how it pans out, but why just dismiss it from the start?
 


kg21

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I thought the defense this past year was ferocious and aggressive for how little we were, non-physical we were, and unathletic we were.

With the upgrade in talent, this will be a ferocious defense.

We had a little point guard, Loewe was small, we had small wings. Our center couldn't get off the ground due to his knees.

We had 0 chance defensively last year. ZERO, NONE!
 

Bayfieldgopher

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Gophers gave up 73.1 ppg on D (12th) and averaged 65.5 ppg (13th) in BIG play. If they have the talent to average 70ppg on both sides of the ball, then they stand a chance to move up to near the middle of the pack of the BIG. #5 rank was 69.0 (Illini) on D and 72.8 (OSU) on O.

70ppg is a reasonable expectation as they should be better on the boards and they can match their Asst/TO ratio.
 

ecoperson

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Coach speak. The proof is in the pudding.
Coaches can't ever please the fans. Coaches get blasted by fans for being too tight lipped and dry most of the time and then, when they do share their thoughts, the same fans complain that it is just coach speak. We all know that wins are how Johnson's success will be measured but I sure appreciate a coach... especially a new coach like Johnson... who shares their vision.
 

50PoundHead

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Or that Johnson plans to use Ihnen in different schemes and different roles than Pitino would have.

yes, we have only seen a little bit of Ihnen - but that was under a different coach and system. So, it's difficult to accurately predict how Ihnen might look in a new coach and new system.

it's all about putting round pegs in round holes - not trying to cram a square peg in a round hole.

put the player in a situation where he has the highest opportunity for success and the lowest risk of failure.

Can Johnson do that? we shall see.

but, if a player is a good athlete, works hard and is willing to learn, you can do a lot with a good athlete.
One of the only times I've seen "Pitino" and "system" in the same post without the words "lack of."

We weren't deep in 2020-21 and fatigue and the fact that we couldn't counterpunch against opponents' adjustments due to personnel limitations really affected the second half of the season. People tend to forget that opponents scout us and that contributed to the team plateuing and then hitting a wall.

Johnson is saying the right things. Hopefully we'll have the personnel for him to employ properly.
 



Drake University Gopher

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We weren't deep in 2020-21 and fatigue and the fact that we couldn't counterpunch against opponents' adjustments due to personnel limitations really affected the second half of the season. People tend to forget that opponents scout us and that contributed to the team plateuing and then hitting a wall.
I’m tired of being the only team in America that gets scouted against. Seriously though, how many times does a Minnesota team come out hot out the gates (not just OOC), then just completely fall apart. I’m hoping it’s just the lack of personnel you alluded to, but really hoping we see Ben and Co. start to out-coach other teams in the next few years.
 

Spaulding!No!

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I’m tired of being the only team in America that gets scouted against. Seriously though, how many times does a Minnesota team come out hot out the gates (not just OOC), then just completely fall apart. I’m hoping it’s just the lack of personnel you alluded to, but really hoping we see Ben and Co. start to out-coach other teams in the next few years.
You are aware that northern Illinois turned Ben down for an hc job? Likely have to muddle they this for 2 more years. Next hire willNOT be Pitino tree.
 

XMan

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Ihnen has the skills and athleticism to be really good with good coaching. Full confidence he will contribute a lot to the team.
 

combes1

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I’m tired of being the only team in America that gets scouted against. Seriously though, how many times does a Minnesota team come out hot out the gates (not just OOC), then just completely fall apart. I’m hoping it’s just the lack of personnel you alluded to, but really hoping we see Ben and Co. start to out-coach other teams in the next few years.
The Big Ten is loaded with great coaches. No one should count on their coach being superior to or out coaching their peers. It still boils down to talent.
 



Gopherfan84

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The Big Ten is loaded with great coaches. No one should count on their coach being superior to or out coaching their peers. It still boils down to talent.
You sure? Nebraska had tons of talent last year and were awful. Wisconsin has had better results than its talent. I don’t think you’re going to out “X and O” coaches, but there are ones who evaluate fit and character better. Also ones who build a culture and foundation as well as ones who plan rosters better. I think your viewpoint is reasonable in the NBA, but in college I don’t know if it’s that simple yet.
 

3399

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So the young lad is cleared on June 1 and his coach is propping him to be the best defender in the Big Ten. Maybe let the kid get comfortable playing again? It's not fair to him to put that kind of expectation on him after three weeks of summer practice. Let's make sure is healthy and can stay healthy (Parker Fox) before making such lofty statements to be fair to the kid.
 

ecoperson

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So the young lad is cleared on June 1 and his coach is propping him to be the best defender in the Big Ten. Maybe let the kid get comfortable playing again? It's not fair to him to put that kind of expectation on him after three weeks of summer practice. Let's make sure is healthy and can stay healthy (Parker Fox) before making such lofty statements to be fair to the kid.
Reread the article. Johnson is not touting Ihnen as the best defender in the Big Ten. He is trying to inspire Ihnen on the defensive end and get him to buy in that this is how he will leave his mark on this team. He is trying to get Ihnen to understand that his value at the next level is to carve out an identity on defense because of his potential versatility.
 

Gopherfan84

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Reread the article. Johnson is not touting Ihnen as the best defender in the Big Ten. He is trying to inspire Ihnen on the defensive end and get him to buy in that this is how he will leave his mark on this team. He is trying to get Ihnen to understand that his value at the next level is to carve out an identity on defense because of his potential versatility.
Yeah this is why I don't blame coaches who don't say much. Say nice things and it's coach speak or its unfair expectations. Say bad things and you lose the kid. Can't win either way.
 

bga1

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I’m tired of being the only team in America that gets scouted against. Seriously though, how many times does a Minnesota team come out hot out the gates (not just OOC), then just completely fall apart. I’m hoping it’s just the lack of personnel you alluded to, but really hoping we see Ben and Co. start to out-coach other teams in the next few years.
Historically, the reason for the teams falling apart, has been injuries and lack of depth. I agree though, it would be a lot of fun to see us out coach other teams of equal or better talent.
 

Ragnor

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So the young lad is cleared on June 1 and his coach is propping him to be the best defender in the Big Ten. Maybe let the kid get comfortable playing again? It's not fair to him to put that kind of expectation on him after three weeks of summer practice. Let's make sure is healthy and can stay healthy (Parker Fox) before making such lofty statements to be fair to the kid.
Defense is about knowledge, athletic ability and effort. We know he has the first 2 and the pressure makes the 3rd more likely whether or not he already has it. The pressure is not an issue with defense like it is with offense. Offense has a much larger psychological confidence component in my opinion.
 

Dakota2

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Historically, the reason for the teams falling apart, has been injuries and lack of depth. I agree though, it would be a lot of fun to see us out coach other teams of equal or better talent.
The night a far superior Michigan State team coached by a legend needed a miracle shot on its home court with one second left to beat rookie Ben Johnson?
 

cheeseheadgophfan

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You are aware that northern Illinois turned Ben down for an hc job? Likely have to muddle they this for 2 more years. Next hire willNOT be Pitino tree.
Really? Seriously? I didn't catch that the other 100 times you've posted it......SMH
 

ecoperson

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You are aware that northern Illinois turned Ben down for an hc job? Likely have to muddle they this for 2 more years. Next hire willNOT be Pitino tree.
So what? Every athletic department makes their hires based on their needs. Just because one school didn't hire Johnson doesn't mean that he is not a candidate for the next.

Johnson didn't have a previous strong relationship with the AD at Northern Illinois during his time as an assistant coach there. Johnson wasn't an alumnus of NIU. Johnson hadn't built strong recruiting connections in greater DeKalb County. Johnson didn't pour his heart and soul into preparing a presentation and vision for his interview as NIU wasn't his dream job in his hometown.

Get over it. You're going to have to 'muddle' through Johnson's leadership for a lot more than 2 more years. The rest of us will enjoy watching the team improve.
 

short ornery norwegian

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You sure? Nebraska had tons of talent last year and were awful. Wisconsin has had better results than its talent. I don’t think you’re going to out “X and O” coaches, but there are ones who evaluate fit and character better. Also ones who build a culture and foundation as well as ones who plan rosters better. I think your viewpoint is reasonable in the NBA, but in college I don’t know if it’s that simple yet.

to follow up on this:

"coaching" is more than just in-game adjustments or scouting reports.
IMHO a big part of coaching is having a philosophy - crafting a system that fits that philosophy - then identifying players who fit that system, and coaching them to play the system.

talent is great. talent that is well-coached and fits the system is better.

the Gophers have had successful teams that did not have great talent. and they have had teams with talented players but the team was not successful. that's part of coaching, too.
 




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