Gophers target: Morehead State PG Ta'Lon Cooper (5.9 APG)

Jeremyp

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Yeah I don’t see your #3 happening. We will get one more guy…but I don’t see how we get two meaningful guys to come in yet. The reality is we will play a max of 8-9 guys by the time big ten season starts. Battle, Garcia, and Cooper will all be getting 30+ minutes a game. Fox will get a bunch. Ihnen will get plenty of minutes coming off the neck presumably. The other presumed transfer guard/wing will get a chunk. And then mix in the 3 freshman and TT for the remainder of the minutes

So I will switch my number 3 to. Finding a solid combo guard to mix in as the 5th starter and also be able to handle ball handling dutues

And number 4. Henley and/or Braeden are ready to play….and looking at the roster one of those two are just as important then Payne even…if Henley is ready he fills the void for minutes at both the 2 and 3. If Braden is ready he fills the void for minutes at the 2 and spot minutes at PG

PG-Cooper/TransferC/Braeden
SG-TransferC/Henley/braeden
SF-Battle/Henley/Ihnen
PF-Fox/Ihnen/TT/Battle
C-Garcia/Payne/TT

Still have JOJ and maybe a drastically improved thiam? to possible fill in as well
I mean I’m a perfect world adding 2 more guard types would be great…but I think we will be able to count on Henley and/or Braeden more then some on here think
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Yeah I don’t see your #3 happening. We will get one more guy…but I don’t see how we get two meaningful guys to come in yet. The reality is we will play a max of 8-9 guys by the time big ten season starts. Battle, Garcia, and Cooper will all be getting 30+ minutes a game. Fox will get a bunch. Ihnen will get plenty of minutes coming off the neck presumably. The other presumed transfer guard/wing will get a chunk. And then mix in the 3 freshman and TT for the remainder of the minutes

So I will switch my number 3 to. Finding a solid combo guard to mix in as the 5th starter and also be able to handle ball handling dutues

And number 4. Henley and/or Braeden are ready to play….and looking at the roster one of those two are just as important then Payne even…if Henley is ready he fills the void for minutes at both the 2 and 3. If Braden is ready he fills the void for minutes at the 2 and spot minutes at PG

PG-Cooper/TransferC/Braeden
SG-TransferC/Henley/braeden
SF-Battle/Henley/Ihnen
PF-Fox/Ihnen/TT/Battle
C-Garcia/Payne/TT

Still have JOJ and maybe a drastically improved thiam? to possible fill in as well
I mean I’m a perfect world adding 2 more guard types would be great…but I think we will be able to count on Henley and/or Braeden more then some on here think
I don't know, the only guards we have are freshman, the recent transfer or Thiam. I just don't know if a guy like Strong is going to see many better places to grab PT. If we grab a combo guard to backup Cooper and possibly start on the wing, they'd have to think they'd essentially be battling freshmen for PT at 3 of the guard spots.
 

sal

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If he just practices, he'll be fine. Clearly the Morehead coach did not prioritize free throw shooting or the team would have been better.;)
Practice? Practice?
 

Gophs24

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I don't know, the only guards we have are freshman, the recent transfer or Thiam. I just don't know if a guy like Strong is going to see many better places to grab PT. If we grab a combo guard to backup Cooper and possibly start on the wing, they'd have to think they'd essentially be battling freshmen for PT at 3 of the guard spots.
Yeah it will certainly be interesting how the rest of this all plays out.

I think a lot also depends on how much Ben trusts his freshman coming in
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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I don't know what is going on, I am used to waiting around forever and then being disappointed. Johnson and snatching people up left and right, I can't keep up. On top of that we are getting some quality recruits. Could go from bottom-feeders to contenders in the Big Ten. Throw in the experience any returning guys will have and man, this coaching staff seems to be killing it.

Ben is legit and building his version of what PJs doing - the sky’s the limit in my patch of NYC.
 



cheeseheadgophfan

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Thiam might have some redeeming qualities, but I really don’t think ball handling is one of them. He had a couple absolutely careless turnovers this year while dribbling where a defender wasn’t even involved. Maybe it was nerves, but I do not have high hopes for a team that has Thiam as a primary ball handler, even in a backup role.
Yikes....I try not to be negative, and players certainly can improve from year to year....but the limited sample size last season shows he has absolutely no handles. I mean he struggled to not dribble the ball off his feet. I hope i'm wrong.
 

Costa Rican Gopher

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Yikes....I try not to be negative, and players certainly can improve from year to year....but the limited sample size last season shows he has absolutely no handles. I mean he struggled to not dribble the ball off his feet. I hope i'm wrong.

Yeah, he's definitely a project. I'm not even sure it's that he has a shaky handle? I think he just plays out of control. Tries to come in, and immediately impact the game. Drives when it's not there (dribbles off his foot), jacks up shots too quickly (gets subbed), and gets lost defensively. That said, he's definitely a B1G athlete, and if he's willing to play limited minutes while he learns how to play at this level, he could be a good player down the line.
 

alchemy2u

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Thiam might have some redeeming qualities, but I really don’t think ball handling is one of them. He had a couple absolutely careless turnovers this year while dribbling where a defender wasn’t even involved. Maybe it was nerves, but I do not have high hopes for a team that has Thiam as a primary ball handler, even in a backup role.
Thiam was a stone cold shooter in JC.Screen Shot 2022-04-21 at 10.25.14 AM.jpg
 





ecoperson

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He may have shot well, but he only played in 6.1 min/game on his Juco team. He was a project then and remains one now.
Something is off with the stats. The most any player played was 11 minutes per game... something doesn't add up. The total of minutes played is 56.8 per game. It should be a minimum of 200 (5 players on floor for 40 minutes).
 




Bad Gopher

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He may have shot well, but he only played in 6.1 min/game on his Juco team. He was a project then and remains one now.
I do think he has potential. I've watched him in warmups, and he hits as good a percentage of his three-pointers as his teammates. That's probably why he jacks so many up in games: he knows/thinks he can make them.
 

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MNVCGUY

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He may have shot well, but he only played in 6.1 min/game on his Juco team. He was a project then and remains one now.
As others have pointed out something is very off on their minutes per game number. He was pretty clearly their 6th man since he didn't start but averaged 15 points a game.
 


MNVCGUY

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Vanilla Thunder’s point is hard to argue though, he’s a project.
No doubt there. It was clear during the limited minutes he got last season that his game was not ready for the Big Ten. Now it is just a matter of what kind of work he is able to do in the off season to get his game to the point where he can be a part of the rotation.

Every player matures at a different rate. Maybe he never gets there but hopefully he can continue to improve and become a productive player for us.
 

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As others have pointed out something is very off on their minutes per game number. He was pretty clearly their 6th man since he didn't start but averaged 15 points a game.
Looking at the individual game logs for Thiam, the minutes per game is definitely off. For the first 18 games he is listed as having played only 1 minute per game ( a placeholder to show that he played in that game?) despite putting up some good stats. For the last 6 games, he averaged 21.5 minutes - apparently the statistician got his/ her act together towards the end of the season - mystery solved.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Now David is a whole different story. Let me rephrase. “Nearly impossible.”
It's been a really fun week of following Gopher basketball and you all had to ruin it by bringing up Mutaf. Oh what might have been. . .


Honestly though, he absolutely tore up the lower league (kind of like Spanish D-League). He isn't getting a ton of run with with big club yet, but they do seem to be investing in him quite a bit.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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Looking at the individual game logs for Thiam, the minutes per game is definitely off. For the first 18 games he is listed as having played only 1 minute per game ( a placeholder to show that he played in that game?) despite putting up some good stats. For the last 6 games, he averaged 21.5 minutes - apparently the statistician got his/ her act together towards the end of the season - mystery solved.
I wouldn't put much stock into his JuCo stats generally. I actually think there might be something "there" in Thiam as kind of a high-energy pest who can cut and knock down open shots (a poor poor man's Corey Brewer type). He obviously needs to improve a lot but he does seem to be high energy.
 

Southpaw

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I wouldn't put much stock into his JuCo stats generally. I actually think there might be something "there" in Thiam as kind of a high-energy pest who can cut and knock down open shots (a poor poor man's Corey Brewer type). He obviously needs to improve a lot but he does seem to be high energy.
I expected better things from Thiam based on his Juco stats - 48.5% from 3 on 130 attempts seems to indicate an elite level shooter but in very limited playing time with the Gophers he was far from impressive. Even in warmups, his shooting stroke did not look smooth nor did there appear to be good ball rotation on his shot. Hoping there is potential to regain whatever shooting touch he had in Juco and can be a weapon off the bench for us.
 


alchemy2u

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I got the team stats right from the Juco webpage.

I watched parts of this game from Juco. He didn't start, but come in (#23 white) about 8:15 in the video and hits some quick threes. He look very quick and athletic.

3's at
9:14
9:15
17:12
misses a tap in 18:10
taking out of game at 19:20 (9 points in about 5 minutes of actual game time)

Very nice hometown crowd!!! I like how the home player grabs a towel off the wall under the basket to wipe the sweat off the floor 20:20 & 31:40.

Back into the game at 24:51
drive - traveled at 27:00
steal and missed 3 at 27:43
lob basket at 31:00

3 at 36:25
drive and missed layup 45:40
end of first half..... stopped watching.
 

TNGophfan

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Overall, happy with Cooper, especially if that's who BJ wanted, but like a few others on the board was hoping for more of a very quick, dribble penetrating point who could hit floaters, a few layups, draw fouls and dish. Know they don't grow on trees but it seemed every successful tourney team had one of those. Easier to play D if you don't have to worry about other team getting in the lane off the dribble. Just my opinion.
 
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cjbfbp

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He may have shot well, but he only played in 6.1 min/game on his Juco team. He was a project then and remains one now.

Obviously, that's not true. Those minutes numbers are wrong. Nobody averages 15 points per 6 minutes - not even Michael Jordan or Pistol Pete Maravich. Look at the guy at the top of the list: he is shown as averaging 3.6 points per game in only 1 minute per game. He is also shown as averaging 3.6 shots per game. Who averages almost 4 shots per minute?

Consider David Mutaf. He shot the ball almost every chance he got but he still took only 7 shots in 9 minutes.
 
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eker0016

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Obviously, that's not true. Those minutes numbers are wrong. Nobody averages 15 points per 6 minutes - not even Michael Jordan or Pistol Pete Maravich. Look at the guy at the top of the list: he is shown as averaging 3.6 points per game in only 1 minute per game. He is also shown as averaging 3.6 shots per game. Who averages almost 4 shots per minute?

Consider David Mutaf. He shot the ball almost every chance he got but he still took only 7 shots in 9 minutes.
I remember this issue from last year, it's a record keeping problem:
From a quick check of his Twitter feed, Coastal Carolina, Kent State, Buffalo, UT-Martin, Georgia Southern, and Davis & Elkins College (who?!?!). Credit to him for holding out for the high major offer!

Not sure how much I trust the JUCO stats -- it says he played 6.1 minutes per game, for a total of 137 minutes (in which he scored an astounding 359 points)...who knows how rigorous the data recording is. I really hope that 3P% is accurate, that sounds great.

EDIT: I did a little more digging on the obviously wrong minutes figure...and it looks like for the first 18 games of the season they just recorded him playing 1 minute each game because they probably didn't keep track. It actually looks like he really improved throughout the year, only scoring 5 and 8 points and low double digits in his first month...but then had games with 31, 25, 23, 23, 20, 20 in the last month of the season. Somehow he only recorded 0 or 1 assists in each game the last couple months so does not seem to be a distributor. He also shot 58% and 53% from 3 in March and April.
 

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New Gopher PG Ta’Lon Cooper Talks About His Decision – “Coach Johnson and the whole staff, they recruited me the hardest out of any school that recruited me.”​

By Chris Monter

 




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