Mid season Interview with Ben Johnson



GopherBlood666

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"I just want to throw the freshman into the fire, it's the best way to get better" - Ben Johnson
 

GopherBlood666

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Doogie asks point blank on the off guard spot, sounds like he wants to roll with what we got. "We might be looking for a combo guard for depth"
 



MaxyJR1

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There is no reason to have 13 scholarship players on rosters in there is going to be the portal. Maybe if the one time free transfer goes away. Like Ben said, you can only play 8-10 guys and keep them all happy. 11-13 will be a revolving door and or no use.
 

ecoperson

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Johnson specifically mentions trying to get Henley some looks at the 1 with his size and versatility.

Really likes Cooper... they targeted him right away after watching him on film as he fits everything that they needed. Talked to him on the phone... he is everything that you want in a lead guard. Hoops junkie and a connector who people gravitate to naturally. Good size, good length, pass first but can also score. Good leadership for locker room. Home run!
 

howeda7

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There is no reason to have 13 scholarship players on rosters in there is going to be the portal. Maybe if the one time free transfer goes away. Like Ben said, you can only play 8-10 guys and keep them all happy. 11-13 will be a revolving door and or no use.
I don't like going into the season with 10 guys. Injuries happen. Look at least year with Ihnen and Fox Then all of the sudden you're down to 8 guys before the season even starts. They need to use at least 2 of the 3 open ones. Give Ramburg the last one, fine.
 

MaxyJR1

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I don't like going into the season with 10 guys. Injuries happen. Look at least year with Ihnen and Fox Then all of the sudden you're down to 8 guys before the season even starts. They need to use at least 2 of the 3 open ones. Give Ramburg the last one, fine.
I agree it is a fine line, but 11-13 are leaving your program anyway after the season is over if rules stay the same. Why pay for their schooling if they are going to jump ship? There are 1400 scholarship players that have walked away from school and likely won't find a spot. Johnson could take 3 of them and right now, he's not interested.
 



howeda7

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I agree it is a fine line, but 11-13 are leaving your program anyway after the season is over if rules stay the same. Why pay for their schooling if they are going to jump ship? There are 1400 scholarship players that have walked away from school and likely won't find a spot. Johnson could take 3 of them and right now, he's not interested.
Those who start out as 11-13 may not end up as 11-13. Also there is no true "cost-savings" to the University if the basketball team keeps an open scholarship. They just give them to the walk-ons.
 

bc2211

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There is no reason to have 13 scholarship players on rosters in there is going to be the portal. Maybe if the one time free transfer goes away. Like Ben said, you can only play 8-10 guys and keep them all happy. 11-13 will be a revolving door and or no use.
They have to have practices too ya know.
 


60's Guy

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I agree it is a fine line, but 11-13 are leaving your program anyway after the season is over if rules stay the same. Why pay for their schooling if they are going to jump ship? There are 1400 scholarship players that have walked away from school and likely won't find a spot. Johnson could take 3 of them and right now, he's not interested.
He's not interested because he said he wants to play 8 or 9 guys. Not 10. And he said with conviction playing 9 is really hard. So that's his philosophy. He'll play 8.
We are not saving any money. He'll give the scholarships to practice players.
The problem with the philosophy is injuries, sickness, covid, grades, suspensions.
We lose a couple guys and it is Richard all over again. Top 25 team down to losing 8 of 10.

It's a lot easier to coach and play 8 guys. If you only got 10...it's easier to keep two guys engaged, thinking their chance is coming versus 5 different guys chomping to play. You also have no competition internally so you have no griping about more minutes. You set the roles for 8 and those 8 become comfortable. It's a chickensheet way to coach imo.

Best chance to win is 13 qualified guys competing and 9 or 10 playing. Why do I care if 11, 12 and 13 leave? I'll get better guys either in the portal or freshman recruits. I don't like the philosophy at all if we are giving our best effort to win. Guys come out of nowhere in improvement if you can develop players. Give em a role they love, give them confidence they never had, give them a vision of what they can be they didn't see.

It seems he's making promises to incoming guys about playing time. Not a good thing either imo
You gotta read between the lines but he answered a ton of questions about how and why the portal recruiting has gone the way it has.
 
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ecoperson

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I am amazed at all of the hand-wringing on the board about the subject of scholarship players. I would prefer to fill the roster with scholarship athletes with the deep bench being role players or developmental players that can expand their roles if needed due to injury, etc.

Coach Johnson presented a sound argument for how he wants to run his team so we have to live with it. I am sure the other coaches must share at least a somewhat similar philosophy.

I think Johnson sees the 'walk ons' such as Ramberg as the deep bench and warranting of a scholarship. They know their 'role' and this may entice future walk-ons in the future.

If this blows up in Johnson's face, this will lead to his hastened dismissal which is what many posters are hoping for anyhow. Consider this a win for you!
 

60's Guy

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I am amazed at all of the hand-wringing on the board about the subject of scholarship players. I would prefer to fill the roster with scholarship athletes with the deep bench being role players or developmental players that can expand their roles if needed due to injury, etc.

Coach Johnson presented a sound argument for how he wants to run his team so we have to live with it. I am sure the other coaches must share at least a somewhat similar philosophy.

I think Johnson sees the 'walk ons' such as Ramberg as the deep bench and warranting of a scholarship. They know their 'role' and this may entice future walk-ons in the future.

If this blows up in Johnson's face, this will lead to his hastened dismissal which is what many posters are hoping for anyhow. Consider this a win for you!
I'll say I don't agree with your thinking on any level but especially your last point. I don't see any posters hoping Johnson gets fired. Some might think he will but pretty much unanimously everybody who posts on here is sick of losing. They want Ben to succeed.
I don't think any of us are on the team or the staff so we are being insubordinate....it's a message board where people get to state how they'd do it differently. Difference of opinion is pretty routine actually.
 

bga1

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I am amazed at all of the hand-wringing on the board about the subject of scholarship players. I would prefer to fill the roster with scholarship athletes with the deep bench being role players or developmental players that can expand their roles if needed due to injury, etc.

Coach Johnson presented a sound argument for how he wants to run his team so we have to live with it. I am sure the other coaches must share at least a somewhat similar philosophy.

I think Johnson sees the 'walk ons' such as Ramberg as the deep bench and warranting of a scholarship. They know their 'role' and this may entice future walk-ons in the future.

If this blows up in Johnson's face, this will lead to his hastened dismissal which is what many posters are hoping for anyhow. Consider this a win for you!
I like the stuff Ben is saying about a lot of things. I don't like the idea of not filling the scholarships out. If we were given a three year probation right now and that meant we could only have 11 scholarships instead of 13, I think everyone would agree that would be brutal. But we are essentially doing it to ourselves in order to keep the whole roster happy.
 

Gopherfan84

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There is no reason to have 13 scholarship players on rosters in there is going to be the portal. Maybe if the one time free transfer goes away. Like Ben said, you can only play 8-10 guys and keep them all happy. 11-13 will be a revolving door and or no use.
It’s amazing how hard this is for some to understand
 

Dakota2

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I like the stuff Ben is saying about a lot of things. I don't like the idea of not filling the scholarships out. If we were given a three year probation right now and that meant we could only have 11 scholarships instead of 13, I think everyone would agree that would be brutal. But we are essentially doing it to ourselves in order to keep the whole roster happy.
Once there were 15 scholarships, then it was reduced to 13. With the portal it might be reduced again to 11 or 12. Makes sense to bring the number down in new environment.
 

EG#9

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It seems like the same conversation going on here and in the transfer portal thread (I read through some of that). Personally, I would rather fill all 13 scholarships but I don't think it's a big deal either way.

What's egregious to me is that it sounds like they are not going to add a starting shooting guard. Rankings aren't everything, but I'd be concerned with Carrington as the starting SG if he was ranked like 85th in the country. Not many guys come in to high majors and are successful starters at that level as Freshman and Carrington isn't ranked 85th... he's ranked 225th. The idea the Isaiah Ihnen is going to come in and play the 2-4 is wild to me. He arguably didn't improve from his Freshman to Sophomore years and basically 2/3 of his shots were catch and shoot moon ball 3's which he shot at a 22% clip last time he saw game action. He didn't show any off the dribble skills whatsovever. I could see it more on the defensive end, but even there he is high waisted which makes getting low in a stance a challenge and lateral quickness didn't seem to be a strength (though straight line speed did). Maybe he took some enormous leap last year pre injury as Coach Johnson did praise him last Summer, but he also would praise Thiam and Thompson so...grain of salt. If Ihnen could be a 7th man on a successful team, that would be a massive leap from where most of us last saw him.

Next year is the only year we're guaranteed to have Garcia/Battle. I think it's extremely important to strike while the iron is hot and at least make the NCAA touranment. Winning will open doors that are currently shut or just open a crack. Hurting some feelings over playing time or NIL issues, and possibly losing a kid or two because of it, pales in comparison to the hole another bad (7-13? 8-12?) conference season puts Coach Johnson in. He seems to think he has plenty of options at guard and just wants a veteran "break glass in case of emergency" type like Samuels to fill out his roster. For that to work, I think we're talking about needing 1. A 2 guard version of a Chucky Hepburn type Freshman season from Carrington or Henley and 2. Cooper to be absolutely everything he was a Morehead State (and maybe more efficient) and 3. Near perfect health from Cooper and whoever the breakout Freshman is. Is that possible? Sure. Would I want to bet on that? No.
 

BarnBurner

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I am amazed at all of the hand-wringing on the board about the subject of scholarship players. I would prefer to fill the roster with scholarship athletes with the deep bench being role players or developmental players that can expand their roles if needed due to injury, etc.

Coach Johnson presented a sound argument for how he wants to run his team so we have to live with it. I am sure the other coaches must share at least a somewhat similar philosophy.

I think Johnson sees the 'walk ons' such as Ramberg as the deep bench and warranting of a scholarship. They know their 'role' and this may entice future walk-ons in the future.

If this blows up in Johnson's face, this will lead to his hastened dismissal which is what many posters are hoping for anyhow. Consider this a win for you!
Rubbish. Nearly every poster here wants nothing but resounding success for the bb team.
Another Ben can do no wrong apologist.
 

Johnnyboy18

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Not worried Carrington being the starting SG/5th best starter, he was the best player on the best team in the stste. I don't thinking up a player like Parker Stewart was going to be much better than Carrington if at all. I don't really trust Henley to play more than 10-12 minutes so hopefully the staff will pick up the Dartmouth guy and someone else. If they don't it's going to end up with the team playing a lot of zone defense.
 


GopherPlaya

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Not worried Carrington being the starting SG/5th best starter, he was the best player on the best team in the stste. I don't thinking up a player like Parker Stewart was going to be much better than Carrington if at all. I don't really trust Henley to play more than 10-12 minutes so hopefully the staff will pick up the Dartmouth guy and someone else. If they don't it's going to end up with the team playing a lot of zone defense.
How can you say Carrington is a surefire starter but Henley won't play more than 10 minutes. Just curious. For all we know, Henley may be a better player than Carrington. It's not like we have seen much of Henley live and from what I have seen on film, he would have been one of the better 2022s if he played in the state of MN.
 

GopherPlaya

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I like the stuff Ben is saying about a lot of things. I don't like the idea of not filling the scholarships out. If we were given a three year probation right now and that meant we could only have 11 scholarships instead of 13, I think everyone would agree that would be brutal. But we are essentially doing it to ourselves in order to keep the whole roster happy.
The Dartmouth guy would be the 11th player on scholarship filling 11 out of 13 scholarships is pretty much the norm in college basketball and gives the flexibility to add someone during the summer if a player is injured during workouts along with giving a walk on the 13th spot.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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It’s amazing how hard this is for some to understand

It's a college basketball head coaches job to win games, not keep everyone happy. If 11-13 are unhappy and transfer out next season, so what? Go fill them with someone new.

At 10 scholarships you're a few injuries and a few positive covid tests away from being down to 5 guys playing nearly 40 minutes for a big ten game, again.

It's amazing how hard this is for some to understand.
 

McPeePants

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side note: Ben needs to follow SVP's advice and just come home already.

 

GopherPlaya

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It's a college basketball head coaches job to win games, not keep everyone happy. If 11-13 are unhappy and transfer out next season, so what? Go fill them with someone new.

At 10 scholarships you're a few injuries and a few positive covid tests away from being down to 5 guys playing nearly 40 minutes for a big ten game, again.

It's amazing how hard this is for some to understand.
We are just working our way out of local high school and AAU coaches basically blackballing the U of M because we gave IW a scholarship over Mckinley Wright. Now we are asking Ben to not play the local freshmen as much as possible to develop them. The majority of this team will be back the following season. Why not try to develop young guys and build chemistry for a long-term situation. Also, Chatman and Carrington are best friends. Why would we not try to make this year a year where we can get Carrington going and develop him so he can sell Ben and the program to Chatman. We already have 10 on scholarship and will bring 1 more guard in. 11 out of 13 scholarships being used is not that uncommon in college hoops, especially for a team with no seniors (Cooper can theoretically return if he wants). The 3 remaining scholarships will be for 2023 which I expect them to bring in a combo guard (Chatman), a wing, and a Stretch 4/Center. We don't want to be a squad that will need to add 4 middling portal guys each year. We need to develop young guys and mix in 1-3 portal guys each year if needed. I feel like Ben is building for the long term
 
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cjbfbp

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I don't like going into the season with 10 guys. Injuries happen. Look at least year with Ihnen and Fox Then all of the sudden you're down to 8 guys before the season even starts. They need to use at least 2 of the 3 open ones. Give Ramburg the last one, fine.

Well, it took our last coach 5 years to understand that. Maybe it will take Johnson five years too.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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We are just working our way out of local high school and AAU coaches basically blackballing the U of M because we gave IW a scholarship over Mckinley Wright. Now we are asking Ben to not try to play the local freshmen as much as possible to develop them. The majority of this team will be back the following season. Why not try to develop young guys and build chemistry for a long-term situation. Also, Chatman and Carrington are best friends. Why would we not try to make this year a year where we can get Carrington going and develop him so he can sell Ben and the program to Chatman. We already have 10 on scholarship and will bring 1 more guard in. 11 out of 13 scholarships being used is not that uncommon in college hoops, especially for a team with no seniors (Cooper can theoretically return if he wants). The 3 remaining scholarships will be for 2023 which I expect them to bring in a combo guard (Chatman), a wing, and a Stretch 4/Center. We don't want to be a squad that will need to add 4 middling portal guys each year. We need to develop young guys and mix in 1-3 portal guys each year if needed. I feel like Ben is building for the long term

So AAU coaches are holding Wright/IW against Johnson who wasn't the head coach at the time? I'm not buying that. There's also no guarantee that keeping Carrington happy will land Chatman, or that either will lead the Gophers to a winning record.

If Ben is being held by the balls by the MN AAU teams, he isn't going to be a head coach here for long. It's his job to bring in the best players possible regardless of where they are from. With the free transfer/NIL, there is no long term. The best players on bad teams will either go pro or transfer to a better program.

We are a Cooper injury a way from not having a PG. We've seen this play out many times in the past and it's not good. Guard play is what wins games in college basketball and it is by far our weakest link currently.
 

cjbfbp

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We are just working our way out of local high school and AAU coaches basically blackballing the U of M because we gave IW a scholarship over Mckinley Wright. Now we are asking Ben to not try to play the local freshmen as much as possible to develop them. The majority of this team will be back the following season. Why not try to develop young guys and build chemistry for a long-term situation. Also, Chatman and Carrington are best friends. Why would we not try to make this year a year where we can get Carrington going and develop him so he can sell Ben and the program to Chatman. We already have 10 on scholarship and will bring 1 more guard in. 11 out of 13 scholarships being used is not that uncommon in college hoops, especially for a team with no seniors (Cooper can theoretically return if he wants). The 3 remaining scholarships will be for 2023 which I expect them to bring in a combo guard (Chatman), a wing, and a Stretch 4/Center. We don't want to be a squad that will need to add 4 middling portal guys each year. We need to develop young guys and mix in 1-3 portal guys each year if needed. I feel like Ben is building for the long term

First off all, there is no requirement to fund a 5th optional year for players. We have no reason to believe that Battle will take that 5th year. We don't know that Cooper will take that 5th year, or if he does, that he will do it here. If we get Samuels this will be his 5th year in college and he may not choose to do another one. If Garcia has a great year, he may not stay in college. And, of course, there is always the prospect of transfers - more likely now than they've ever been. At the end of the season, we heard that both Thompson and Thiam were staying. We now know that was information was premature.

Secondly, there are no assurances that these freshmen will languish on the bench. Carrington could earn a starting position. What if he does and later is injured?
 
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