Coach Thorson breaks down the roster: Gophers Hoops Boasts ‘Junkyard Dog’

BleedGopher

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per Shama:

Thorson, who was a U assistant from 1990-1994, was asked during a telephone interview for a brief comment about each of the players. His answers included individual references to a “junkyard dog” and a “matchup nightmare.” Team comments included this is a roster with the size and athleticism to play different roles, providing the Gophers with versatility.

Junior forward Jamison Battle, last season’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game (sixth in the Big Ten): “High IQ basketball player. Skilled due to the diligence he has at working at his game. I think only scratching the surface on what kind of player he can be.”

Freshman guard Braeden Carrington: “Lights out shooter. Championship pedigree, very competitive. Can’t wait to coach him.”

Backcourt transfer and senior Ta’Lon Cooper: “Pass first point guard. Extremely unselfish, knows how to win. Can’t wait for him to drive the Gopher car.”

Junior forward Parker Fox: “Incredible spirit and love for being a Gopher and playing. I can’t wait for the fans to see that. A highlight machine in the making.”

Sophomore forward transfer Dawson Garcia who was an impact player in prior college seasons at Marquette and North Carolina: “Extremely talented and skilled face-up (to the basket) threat. Matchup nightmare (at 6-11, 235 pounds) and hard playing dude. Another guy I can’t wait to coach.”

Freshman guard-forward Jaden Henley: “Extremely versatile. A big, long guard that does a little bit of everything. Another guy that I think brings versatility…that is going to make us tough.”

Junior forward Isaiah Ihnen: “Fought back from adversity in terms of the injury (knee). …Has really worked on his shot—and a guy that I think is going to present all kinds of trouble defensively because he can defend both perimeter and inside players for us. … You’ll see a different version of him than what you remember from him two years ago.”

Freshman forward Josh Ola-Joseph: “Oh my, I love him. He’s a junkyard dog; plays so hard. He finds a difference to make a difference on the court. … Just how hard he plays. He’s another Gopher that is going to be fun to watch.”

Freshman forward Pharrel Payne: “Pharrel, he is a beast (athleticism at 6-9, 230). He is a physical (guy). He reminds me of John Thomas (former NBA first rounder) who I recruited to the U in the ‘90s. I don’t want to put too much pressure on Pharrel but when I watched him play, every time I watched him I thought John Thomas. So that should tell something about what I think is in store for his future.”

Sophomore guard Jackson Purcell: “Another really high IQ player. He’s one of those guys that bring something to the table for us that doesn’t always show up in the stat sheet. You know once he got cleared (from injury) so that he could practice with us, he was a key guy in terms of practicing against and doing things of that sort. …”

Junior guard Will Ramberg from way up north Grand Marais: “I don’t know if he wants me to call him an Iron Ranger, but he’s a hard playing guy. In the opportunities that he had last year, he made a difference. …He’s a guy you can count on, no matter what the situation.”

Fifth year Dartmouth guard transfer Taurus Samuels: “He’s a heady point guard. He’s going to bring a lot to the table in terms of how he attacks in a ball screen. He just understands how to play. I love his pace and I love his attitude about the game. So another guy I think that Gopher fans are going to love to see.”

Sophomore center Treyton Thompson: “Man, has he worked hard. I think the neat part about Treyt is that you look at this 7-footer and yet he is…a stretch guy (big man who can play outside). He can face up and make threes—and he’s really worked hard on getting stronger. So I think Treyton’s best basketball is ahead of him.”

Knee injuries to Fox and Ihnen sidelined them for the entire season of 2021-2022. That lessened the talent and depth on a roster already fragile from the transition to Johnson about 15 months ago after head coach Richard Pitino was fired. Ihnen is the only remaining player Pitino and his staff coached.

“Yeah, we’re looking forward to having a full team for the first time since we’ve been here,” Thorson said.


Go Gophers!!
 









UpAndUnder43

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Not one guy willing to do the little things or run through a wall. Could be a long season
 





short ornery norwegian

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couple of things that stand out - or that I noticed:

Cooper - "pass-first point guard." suggests a more 'traditional' PG role than Willis played.

Garcia - "matchup nightmare." could mean they will move him around on the front line to try and
create problems for the defense.

Henley - "a big, long guard." key word is guard.

Ihnen - "has really worked on his shot." very interested to see what Ihnen has added to his game.

Payne - "a beast...physical." I'm starting to think that Payne may play a bigger role this year. put him inside to bang, and let Garcia roam.
 




McPeePants

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In the Payne section, I chuckled at this: "He is a physical (guy)."

What word did Shama edit out there? I assume "dude"? "MF-er"?
 






BTChamp

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No butt slaps comment. I'm worried.
 

cjbfbp

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Also good to hear Thompson has been working hard. He’s gonna be a factor at some point.

"Working hard" is not something to get too excited about. That's similar to the term "gym rat" Pitino would use when he couldn't think of something particularly good to say about a player. I also don't find the "plays hard" claim about Joseph to be much cause for celebration.

Notice for the leading players, he found something particular to describe about the qualities they brought to the game.
 

combes1

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Our coach (Illinois) overuses the word “elite.”

Matthew Mayer is an elite passer.

RJ Melendez is an elite athlete.

Skyy Clark is an elite point guard.

Coleman Hawkins is an elite defender at 6-11, 230.

Terrance Shannon is an elite competitor.

Dain Dainja has an elite skill set.

Luke Goode and Jayden Epps are elite shooters.

Ty Rodgers is elite at all aspects of the game.

And so on. It’s a running joke on the boards. Lol. Too much coachspeak makes you wary.
 

Gopherfan84

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"Working hard" is not something to get too excited about. That's similar to the term "gym rat" Pitino would use when he couldn't think of something particularly good to say about a player. I also don't find the "plays hard" claim about Joseph to be much cause for celebration.

Notice for the leading players, he found something particular to describe about the qualities they brought to the game.
I think your points are valid, but in these cases the comments are pretty legitimate. Thompson’s work ethic is pretty well respected. Ryan James posted pictures of Thompson shooting shots after games (he didn’t play so it’s the right thing, but he could’ve shot before the game and figured night time was for partying.). JOJs game has always been about outworking guys and being aggressive. He’s not good enough unless he plays that way. He reminds me of Damien Johnson with how aggressive he plays. Now if he can defend at that level then we hit the jackpot. Either way his junior AAU season was great. He was the best player and leading scorer for MN D1.
 

XMan

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Our coach (Illinois) overuses the word “elite.”

Matthew Mayer is an elite passer.

RJ Melendez is an elite athlete.

Skyy Clark is an elite point guard.

Coleman Hawkins is an elite defender at 6-11, 230.

Terrance Shannon is an elite competitor.

Dain Dainja has an elite skill set.

Luke Goode and Jayden Epps are elite shooters.

Ty Rodgers is elite at all aspects of the game.

And so on. It’s a running joke on the boards. Lol. Too much coachspeak makes you wary.
We are used to Fleck so we hear the word elite quite a bit as well
 

XMan

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I am intrigued about the comment on Ihnen - how we are going to see a different type of player that we have seen in prior years.
 

bga1

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I am intrigued about the comment on Ihnen - how we are going to see a different type of player that we have seen in prior years.
Yep, that's the comment that interested me as well.
 

cjbfbp

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I think your points are valid, but in these cases the comments are pretty legitimate. Thompson’s work ethic is pretty well respected. Ryan James posted pictures of Thompson shooting shots after games (he didn’t play so it’s the right thing, but he could’ve shot before the game and figured night time was for partying.). JOJs game has always been about outworking guys and being aggressive. He’s not good enough unless he plays that way. He reminds me of Damien Johnson with how aggressive he plays. Now if he can defend at that level then we hit the jackpot. Either way his junior AAU season was great. He was the best player and leading scorer for MN D1.

Of course, Thompson is going to continue practicing shots. All players do that but shooting wasn't his weakness last year. He was 40% on 3s and 53% on 2s. On the other hand, he was the tallest player on the team but his rebounding per 40 minutes ranked 6th of the 10 active scholarship players. With better talent in the front line this season, perhaps we can afford the luxury of a 6'11" player who is more effective outside than inside but we needed a different player last year. As far as another Thorson comment about him: So I think Treyton’s best basketball is ahead of him; well, it would almost have to be. If it isn't, he should transfer after this season.

I know almost nothing about Joseph so I don't have much of an opinion about him. I only watched him for a few minutes coming off the bench this season in a Compass Prep game. He looked slower and more tentative than his teammates.
 
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Gopherfan84

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Of course, Thompson is going to continue practicing shots. All players do that but shooting wasn't his weakness last year. He was 40% on 3s and 53% on 2s. On the other hand, he was the tallest player on the team but his rebounding per 40 minutes ranked 6th of the 10 active scholarship players. With better talent in the front line this season, perhaps we can afford the luxury of a 6'11" player who is more effective outside than inside but we needed a different player last year. As far as another Thorson comment about him: So I think Treyton’s best basketball is ahead of him; well, it would almost have to be. If it isn't, he should transfer after this season.

I know almost nothing about Joseph so I don't have much of an opinion about him. I only watched him for a few minutes coming off the bench this season in a Compass Prep game. He looked slower and more tentative than his teammates.
My point is Thompson seems to be doing more than others so the working hard comment may not just be something to say cause they can't figure out anything else. Agree that if he wants more minutes and he doesn't improve, he should transfer. He might be content being a role player at his dream school however and that's even better. I spent a lot of time expressing Michael Hurts value to the program on this board and I'd do the same for Thompson.

I watched Joseph in AAU and at Osseo. He has a really good motor.
 

Ski U Mah Gopher

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Also good to hear Thompson has been working hard. He’s gonna be a factor at some point.
It depends what he's doing. Is most of the hard work in the weight room, or is it mainly skill development. I would hope it is the former.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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"Working hard" is not something to get too excited about. That's similar to the term "gym rat" Pitino would use when he couldn't think of something particularly good to say about a player. I also don't find the "plays hard" claim about Joseph to be much cause for celebration.

Notice for the leading players, he found something particular to describe about the qualities they brought to the game.

Same concept as, “She has a great personality.”
 




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