GOPHERS HIRING BEN JOHNSON

Go Gophs

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Like it or not, the AAU coaches think that they are the center of the universe. The AAU programs with the all-star teams and playing in the national tournaments are where a lot of the real high-profile recruiting takes place. You may make first contact with kids in HS, but you close the deal during the AAU season.

And - like it or not, the top AAU coaches in MN think that the Gophers are not paying them the "respect" they deserve. And if the AAU coaches get down on a program, they are not going to encourage their players to consider that program. in a lot of cases, the AAU coaches have more influence on players than the HS coaches, because AAU takes place in the summer, kids are not in school and spend all of their free time with their AAU teams.

So, if you want to land the top AAU kids, you have to kiss some big-time butt. From what is being reported, sounds like Pitino didn't want to play that game. and Pitino supposedly "dissing" McKinley Wright really put him behind the 8-ball with the AAU scene.
I'm not sure I 100% agree with this.

Were the gophers winning, it wouldn't matter to these AAU coaches. The reason that they don't send top kids here as of right now is because our program is terrible. Why would you want your top kids going and playing for NIT berths when they have high end programs that will put both the player and themselves in the spotlight right away?

Win here and this changes instantly no matter how "wined and dined" they get. Right now, Minnesota is a bottom 4 program in the Big Ten no matter what we all think and that is the biggest problem.
 


WoodburyTim

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Disagree that is what the general ideas are about.


Unfortunately, in this case, it could be true.

And I just think it's silly to cave in, on this one position that will likely be temporary in the grand scheme of things.

Would much rather give 1000 grants to Black Minnesotans to start Black-owned businesses. Many would fail, sure, but some would succeed, and provide jobs lasting much longer than Johnson's tenure here is likely to be.


If wild guessing (as I am!), I would say it's more out of fear of the perception or actual bad press or allegations of unfairness/racism that would have been levied against the U, than out of actually desiring to promote fairness, in this particular hire.

I don't know that race was ultimately a factor in Johnson's hiring. But it is sad that so many felt it should be. Saying that race needs to bonus factor in the decision means one of two things. 1)Coyle is inclined towards prejudice and would not hire the best candidate regardless of race. 2)An African American candidate would not be able to get the job on their own merits and need bonus points because of the color of their skin.

I don't believe either of those is true so that is why I can comfortably say best person for the job.
 




WoodburyTim

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I do wonder what the thoughts are today of Johnson's AAU connections. Either they are reading all this and saying "What are they talking about, I don't talk to Johnson very often?" or they are saying "Okay the guy we like and are connected to got a big job, we better get some guys to head the U's way."

Not saying you can ever get everybody but if our recruiting continues on generally the same path for the next 4 or 5 years, everyone will say, what good are local AAU connections if we still aren't keeping MN players home. That is what I am ultimately afraid of. I fully believe the AAU scene likes and respects Ben Johnson, but the guys we want will still go elsewhere.
 

BarnBurner

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I do wonder what the thoughts are today of Johnson's AAU connections. Either they are reading all this and saying "What are they talking about, I don't talk to Johnson very often?" or they are saying "Okay the guy we like and are connected to got a big job, we better get some guys to head the U's way."

Not saying you can ever get everybody but if our recruiting continues on generally the same path for the next 4 or 5 years, everyone will say, what good are local AAU connections if we still aren't keeping MN players home. That is what I am ultimately afraid of. I fully believe the AAU scene likes and respects Ben Johnson, but the guys we want will still go elsewhere.
Bingo.
 

MplsGopher

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I do wonder what the thoughts are today of Johnson's AAU connections. Either they are reading all this and saying "What are they talking about, I don't talk to Johnson very often?" or they are saying "Okay the guy we like and are connected to got a big job, we better get some guys to head the U's way."

Not saying you can ever get everybody but if our recruiting continues on generally the same path for the next 4 or 5 years, everyone will say, what good are local AAU connections if we still aren't keeping MN players home. That is what I am ultimately afraid of. I fully believe the AAU scene likes and respects Ben Johnson, but the guys we want will still go elsewhere.
My guess as well
 




Go Gophs

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Only winning can turn that around.

So you can't say you're going to win by recruiting those local guys. Has to be the other way around, to bootstrap.
And this is why I wanted a coach here.

Someone that can win with less. You won't get talent here until you win. Flat out. This place is a mess athletically and everyone knows it.

We have since at least Tubby competed with mid majors and low end power 5 teams to get recruits. This won't change no matter who the coach is unless we win here.

I am surprised people can't figure this out. Craig Smith was the hire. Not sure why he wasn't courted.
 



Bad Gopher

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I do wonder what the thoughts are today of Johnson's AAU connections. Either they are reading all this and saying "What are they talking about, I don't talk to Johnson very often?" or they are saying "Okay the guy we like and are connected to got a big job, we better get some guys to head the U's way."

Not saying you can ever get everybody but if our recruiting continues on generally the same path for the next 4 or 5 years, everyone will say, what good are local AAU connections if we still aren't keeping MN players home. That is what I am ultimately afraid of. I fully believe the AAU scene likes and respects Ben Johnson, but the guys we want will still go elsewhere.
The top guys will continue to go where they feel they can win conference championships and be developed to their potential. That'll only be the U if Johnson turns out to be an excellent coach.

EDIT: I should add on a little about that last sentence re "the guys we want." So many of "the guys we want" are very get-able if you're talking about players like McKinley Wright. That's much of what builtbadgers is talking about when he emphasizes evaluation. The Wright/Washington fiasco was a failure of evaluation. Not just evaluation from the standpoint of skills and physicality but also character. Seeing the uncommon team leader he turned out to be at Colorado...we not only missed out on all-conference talent; we missed out on a team captain. And ended up with a pouter instead. Those kinds of things are not a random crapshoot; they can be identified and evaluated. Regardless of how it's gone with Gabe the last year plus, I'd still recruit him all over again. He's the kind of guy we want. Best defender on the team, and he won that NCAA tournament game for us. And I believe the rumors that the only reason we signed him was that Johnson stood on his head and fell on his sword convincing Richard to do it.
 
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Golden Yooper

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I believe the University's public relations department is mainly to blame for the reaction to Ben. You cannot let the basketball community think you are after "high end" coaches like Muss/Dutcher or successful program builders like Smith/Nedved or new up and comers like Gates... then, hire someone without any HC experience. There was "no spin" PR wise for the public to even consider a hiring choice like this. I think that is why the outrage is so high. I believe they made Ben's road so much rockier to start. I feel for the guy - Imagine your dream comes true getting a job like this and walking into this negativity due to no fault of your own. He has worked hard to gain experience to advance his career and might be a dang good coach.

That being said, I would of liked the U to hire someone with HC experience, been involved with a highly successful program and had a proven track record. I have no idea if another experienced hire would do better here and time will tell that story.

I will be cheering for my Gophers and wish Ben the best of luck!
 


GopherPharmaBiz

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Even after sleeping on this for two nights, I’m still disappointed. I always figured Muss was a pipe dream and I wasn’t enamored by Dutcher’s age so I was really hoping for a Smith of Medved. I would’ve been ok with Gates. Moser seemed to play himself out of consideration and never seemed interested.

One thought that popped into my head: if Coyle ultimately wanted Johnson, I wonder if he would’ve considered trying to bring on both Dutcher and Johnson with Johnson in a “coach in waiting” type of arrangement? Dutcher’s MN-specific buyout sure made it seem like he would have interest. He could move here near his family, give it a good two or three years to get the program on the right footing and then turn it over to Johnson.

Just a thought and I understand that what’s done is done
 

builtbadgers

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I actually agree with you here. MN is a tough job. I would guess a large percentage of 17-18 year old kids outside of the Midwest believe Minnesota is in Canada. I think even if Jay Wright was coaching here we’d probably crack the top 4 once every 5 years.
Jay Wright would do better than that.
 

laazrakit

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Look at the bright side everyone. We shouldn’t have to start a new thread about him bolting to another job if he has success here.
Even though this was obviously a piss-take... You're actually right.

Why would that be a bad thing? Would it be so awful if Ben Johnson rebuilds the program into something the entire state can be proud of... and stays on for years, doing so...?
 

laazrakit

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I would’ve been ok with Gates.
I wouldn't have really been happy with Gates, and I'll tell you why... He'd likely would have been a short-term rental. The minute a better job came along, I'd expect that he'd have moved along... and who could blame him.
 

laazrakit

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How about this -- I made this up from my rear one, on the spot right now:

Smith says to Coyle something like "look, my family and I really like it out here and we want to stay in Utah. UU's AD says they can do 2.3 and I'm gonna take that .... unless you can make me an offer I can't refuse."

Coyle says "sorry, I'm capped at 2 for this hire ...". And that was that.
Do you really, really think... knowing what he paid Johnson.. that if Coyle had a burning desire to have Smith as the next coach of the Gophers, he wouldn't have paid?

This wasn't about money... He interviewed Johnson and was sold on him, plain and simple. So sold, in fact, that he ended the search and hired his guy... didn't even bother to actually interview Smith, who supposedly had an interview scheduled later in the week. Too many people continue to say that this was about money, when it clearly was not. It was all about an AD who thinks he found a winner... whether or not he's correct, we will soon find out.
 


laazrakit

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If that's how Gable tied Coyle's hands, then I wish they had the balls to come out and say it.
You're really trying to sell this...

Does anyone who's been around and seen Coyle in action, so to speak, think he's afraid to pull the trigger on his own hire? Coyle got his man, end of story. Whether or not it works out, that remains to be seen.

Thinking that this was a diversity hire... or a "Gabel hire"... is some wrong-way thinking. I'll say if it was going to be a diversity hire, Coyle would have been forced to kiss the Strib's ass and hire Sam Mitchell.
 
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laazrakit

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One thought that popped into my head: if Coyle ultimately wanted Johnson, I wonder if he would’ve considered trying to bring on both Dutcher and Johnson with Johnson in a “coach in waiting” type of arrangement? Dutcher’s MN-specific buyout sure made it seem like he would have interest. He could move here near his family, give it a good two or three years to get the program on the right footing and then turn it over to Johnson.
It's what I was yapping about, too when it was rumored that Pitino was going away... and I still wish it had happened the way I was hoping. Seemed like the perfect situation... and I never thought, in a million years, that Coyle would hire Ben. I was wrong about that.

In reality, though... wouldn't the right assistant(s) do practically the same thing...? They're obviously not going to get Brian Dutcher to come hold Ben's hand... but with the right hire, maybe we get a very similar situation.
 

GopherBlood777

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You're really trying to sell this...

Does anyone who's been around and seen Coyle in action, so to speak, think he's afraid to pull the trigger on his own hire? Coyle got his man, end of story. Whether or not it works out, that remains to be seen.

Thinking that this was a diversity hire... or a "Gabel hire"... is some wrong-way thinking. I'll say if it was going to be a diversity hire, Coyle would have been forced to kiss the Strib's ass and hire Sam Mitchell.
"Search Committee", we will never know if this was coyle's hire because they made it clear at the presser this was a joint effort.
 


Flipper1a

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Andy Devine

@andydevine18


Hey
@DWolfsonKSTP
so many former MN high school basketball players entered the transfer portal. Who are actual options for the Gophers we should keep an eye on? Ben is making moves and growing on me so far... Let’s hope he can land some of these guys!

Darren Wolfson
@DWolfsonKSTP

·
9h

Replying to
@andydevine18
He's personally talked to El-Amin, Thompson, Fox, and Battle... with more likely to come. No talks to date with the Madsen brothers.

Andy Devine

@andydevine18

·
9h

Gotta assume Garcia is on that list if he officially decides to leave. Do you expect Kenny and Treyton to stay committed? I also feel like a couple more gophers will enter the transfer portal...



Darren Wolfson

@DWolfsonKSTP

·
9h

When I talked to Treyton when he committed, he was all about Minnesota, home state, name on front of jersey.


tyler meyer

@tyler56088

·
8h

What about carr has he had diaolog with him about staying

Darren Wolfson
Carr wants to be a pro. Transfer portal is a fallback plan. Best bet is to plan as if he won’t be here.

tyler meyer

@tyler56088

·
8h

Dang that stinks
 





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