Taurus Samuels Commits to Gophers!!

Holy Man

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I definitely understand what you're saying, but here is an honest question did we think we were going to roll out a Big Ten championship lineup in year 2 with Ben. If that's the case, fans are becoming way too unrealistic. We are a fast fix type program. We have to grow, develop and build for us to be successful. Once we change the narrative of this program, I can understand those expectations. For me personally, I don't expect an upper half of the Big Ten finish but I think it is definitely realistic of these guys to develop similar chemistry to what they had last year. I like the versatility on both sides of the ball
I see and agree with your point, but with the major upgrade in the front court, many of us are tasting the possibility of a very competitive team next year. I speak for myself only, but I do see us one shooting guard away from being a team that has a chance to be a 5-10 seed in the Tournament versus a best case scenario of being on the bubble at season's end.

I don't think anyone agrees with throwing scholarships out and hoping, but a second perimeter scoring option is still a glaring weakness. Being so close but an obvious piece of the puzzle short is enticing and frustrating at the same time.
 

Gopherfan84

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We've seen these tall, wing heavy, lineups with a lack of guard depth under both Tubby and Pitino. They didn't work at a high level.
Purdue was good this year. Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Rutgers made the tournament. The game has changed quite a bit over the last 12 years, Pitino's two best teams had big long wings. You bring up UNC, but they only played two "guards". Kansas only played 2 "guards". There are the Villanova's of the world, but I don't think it's a one or the other type deal.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Crowley played in 12 games the year prior and averaged .7. Wahl played in 24 and averaged 5. That's not a proven player.

What does two years ago have to do with last year?

Johnny Davis only averaged 7 ppg the year prior, based on your analysis he's not a proven player either.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Purdue was good this year. Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Rutgers made the tournament. The game has changed quite a bit over the last 12 years, Pitino's two best teams had big long wings. You bring up UNC, but they only played two "guards". Kansas only played 2 "guards". There are the Villanova's of the world, but I don't think it's a one or the other type deal.

Those teams all had high scoring guards. So did Pitino's. UNC started 3 guards. Kansas started 3 guards, two of them were their leading scorers.
 

Gopherfan84

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The difference between being able to win in the B1G consistently and not is having a third and/or fourth guy who can score if needed. Most good B1G teams can neutralize one or two scorers and hardly any can stop a third. While the third guy might not get the high volume of shots the first two get, his ability to score when needed or when ignored is very important to success.

Too many unanswered questions yet for me to declare them a .500 B1G team. I would be ecstatic with that. I'm not giving up my mantra of this team being one good shooter from being a really good team. Without that piece, I just don't know.
Having that 3rd or 4th scorer at that a high level is what makes a top 15 team in the country which is ultimate goal and I agree there. Being a tournament team can have 2 scorers.
I think you are overstating our line-up and understating the Badgers. They had a few more proven B1G players than we did. Wisconsin also proved the adage that in college basketball, it always helps to have the best player on the court on your team in crunch time. Undermanned teams can hang in, but the stars frequently make the difference in the end.
I can respect your feelings on overstating our line up, but I'm not understating the badgers. Their second best scorer was Brad Davison. He did a great job at it, but it's not like he's a true scorer. What they do admirably is play roles. Purdue is similar, where they only had one true scorer. I hope we do the same. Those two teams were top 4 in the B1G. We don't have a guy of Davis or Ivey's caliber, but we can be a top 10 team in the B1G and get a tourney bid imo
 


Gopherfan84

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Those teams all had high scoring guards. So did Pitino's. UNC started 3 guards. Kansas started 3 guards, two of them were their leading scorers.
And they were in the championship game. We are talking about a tournament berth. Leakey Black was 6'8 is and was not used as a ball handler, so how does he constitute being a "guard" vs. a "wing"? Kansas started a pt guard, and two wings who ran around screens and shot threes. How is Braun and Agbaji a "guard" vs a wing. They are 6'5 and 6'6? Braun's footspeed isn't a whole lot faster than Battles.
 

cjbfbp

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MN finished 13th in scoring average in the B1G last year.

9th in average points allowed, FWIW.

Scoring was the primary issue for the Gophers. They simply didn't have enough players who could put the ball through the hoop. And that was with Willis.

Offense is going to limit them this year too, IMO.

I don't disagree with your points but post defense and especially rebounding were primary issues too. Because of our lousy rebounding we didn't get enough second and third shots or prevent the other team from getting too many second and third shots. I expect that we'll be much better in those areas this year but we really should recruit another established outside shooter even if he comes off the bench.
 

ethomasp31

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I'm not sure I care about what position they play, but I still would like to add another high quality shooter to the mix. We have brought in two guards who appear sound in handling the ball but not great shooters. We know Battle can be outstanding from long range. Beyond that, I'm not seeing much shooting. Perhaps Garcia.

The versatility will make us better defensively. The size will help rebounding. But I am not seeing a great leap forward on offense with the reconfigured roster. Without a perimeter game, clogging the middle becomes an option for opponents.
I understand your point and I think the outside shooting is a question mark besides Battle too....although I think Garcia will also be better than people expect if they haven't seen him play. Last year Stephens and Willis were both good outside shooters and even Loewe would make some as well. Hopefully some of the guys we have't seen play will be better 3-point shooters than we expect.
 

Johnnyboy18

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What does two years ago have to do with last year?

Johnny Davis only averaged 7 ppg the year prior, based on your analysis he's not a proven player either.
I mean he's clearly talking about players coming into last year that were proven.
 



ethomasp31

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Samuels was visiting Drexel before he visited Minnesota. Drexel. There is one tweet out there suggesting some good schools (Florida, Duke) had interest in him as a backup PG as well, which would be much more encouraging. Personally, I am fine with Samuels if he's only expected to be a caretaker type who spells more talented players for ~10 minutes a game. If he's asked to do more than that, I don't think you can point to anything in his profile that suggests he would/could be successful at the high major level in a significant role.

I do think it's interesting that Samuels is a small guard that doesn't shoot it well. In many interviews with Coach Johnson since he's been hired, I've heard him talk about the importance of shooting and a preference for length in the backcourt. Cooper is not a shooter and Samuels has neither length or shooting ability. Doesn't mean you cannnot win another way, but these guys are a far cry from Willis as a shooter who I believe lead the Big Ten (or Big Ten guards) in three point percentage.

It wasn't that long ago (maybe 2 weeks?) that Andy Katz put out a video saying Ben Johnson was looking for a scorer for his backcourt. I wonder what changed between now and then besides another scholarship opening up? I personally have a hard time believing that the plan is/was to add the guys they've added and not add another more skilled scorer to the backcourt.

Maybe I should make another thread on this, but would any of you who are attacking Bob Loblaw (or others with a similar point of view) take over 9.5 conference wins? What if I gave you +120 on that? If Coach Johnson (who I agree knows his roster better than any of us) is content with this roster for '22-23, then he clearly believes he has more than enough to be above .500 in conference play. If he didn't, I think we'd all agree it would be malpractice to not be turning over every stone possible looking for talent with 2 open scholarships. Coach Johnson could be slightly off with his view of the roster and you'd still cash this bet at plus money.
I'll take the over 9.5 conference wins next season. I had the over last year which I would have won also.
 

GopherPlaya

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I see and agree with your point, but with the major upgrade in the front court, many of us are tasting the possibility of a very competitive team next year. I speak for myself only, but I do see us one shooting guard away from being a team that has a chance to be a 5-10 seed in the Tournament versus a best case scenario of being on the bubble at season's end.

I don't think anyone agrees with throwing scholarships out and hoping, but a second perimeter scoring option is still a glaring weakness. Being so close but an obvious piece of the puzzle short is enticing and frustrating at the same time.
I agree. I just don't think that we will necessarily find that guy. People want Walton based on what he did as a freshman and his HS rankings, but in my opinion, Carrington or Henley can have similar success. We saw similar production from Gabe as a freshman as Walton. Carrington is a similar player to those 2 IMO. I do agree were are so close to a team on paper that would be a solidified tourney team, but I also think we have pieces to accomplish that as well if everything develops that way I think it will.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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And they were in the championship game. We are talking about a tournament berth. Leakey Black was 6'8 is and was not used as a ball handler, so how does he constitute being a "guard" vs. a "wing"? Kansas started a pt guard, and two wings who ran around screens and shot threes. How is Braun and Agbaji a "guard" vs a wing. They are 6'5 and 6'6? Braun's footspeed isn't a whole lot faster than Battles.

If you want to consider Black more of a wing, I don't disagree, but he still started with 6'0" and 6'4" combo guards who can score. Braun and Agbaji are both more athletic than Battle and can guard guards.

And we are talking about a tournament birth. I asked earlier to find me one power conference team that made the tournament without a pg or combo guard who was one of that teams leading scorers. I can't think of one currently.
 

leib0039

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To hit on a few points.

Yes basketball today is position less, what you need to do is be versatile on both ends. You dont have to have a true 5 who doesnt leave the post for example, but if a team like ILL has Kofi you need to be able to defend him, and then on the other end you need to take advantage of his lack of foot speed type thing. Another thing I will caution people on, "well KU/UNC/Duke/Nova didnt play more than 6 guys and they didnt have this or that" sure, that is true, but they have so much top end talent they can dictate play and get away with more things. We arent there yet so we need to play a system better. We certainly can do that, I just dont love the comps between us a top 5 programs.

I have been critical of not using all 13 scholarships, the rebuttal has been hey then not everyone will be happy and you dont play 13 guys. Ben is happy so then we should be happy! I do not doubt any of those things are true. I dont want to say Ben is resting on his laurels and wants to quit recruiting, but I think at times you can kind of get comfy with what you have and over rate it a bit. I will use the example of a dead end job. Sure you are making a living and you think hey my life is fine. Do we just want to be ok with fine? Thats were I am at with this team, obviously love the Garcia/Cooper pickups, the freshman are good, Samuels seems fine. I just was hoping we would make this huge push and really be on the rise. We are going to be better than last year, I want more, i dont want 11th place, I want 1st place! And yes spare me, I know it doesnt happen overnight, I just think we have plateaued after the Cooper pickup. I see that as a plus for Ben, he did awesome early on that gave me a ton of optimism that he was going to hit a grand slam, instead I feel like we got a solid double. Just my take.
 



Gopherfan84

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If you want to consider Black more of a wing, I don't disagree, but he still started with 6'0" and 6'4" combo guards who can score. Braun and Agbaji are both more athletic than Battle and can guard guards.

And we are talking about a tournament birth. I asked earlier to find me one power conference team that made the tournament without a pg or combo guard who was one of that teams leading scorers. I can't think of one currently.
If you are talking about a top 3 scorer on a team, of course one of them will be perimeter oriented as that's 60% of your starting line and most teams play 4 guys that are on the wing so it's impossible to not have them be in that group. If you are talking top 2, then UCLA, Michigan State, Gonzaga, and Arizona come to mind. I will strongly disagree with you on Braun being that much more athletic than Battle. Battle will be able guard at least one wing/guard on most teams we play. He's very strong positionally and knows how to play through any limitations he has. Length also makes up for some lateral quickness issues. We also switch 90% of our screens anyways, so it doesn't matter who he starts out on anyhow.

I project our leading scorers next year will be: Battle, Garcia, and Cooper or Carrington. Those guys will play a ton out on the perimeter.
 

Gopherfan84

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To hit on a few points.


I have been critical of not using all 13 scholarships, the rebuttal has been hey then not everyone will be happy and you dont play 13 guys. Ben is happy so then we should be happy!
Honestly 75% (low guestimate here) don't fill their scholarships. They give the 12th-13th to walk on guys who will graduate and help their APR. I get your logic and agree it'd be awesome to fill them, but there is a reason why they pretty much all have stopped. Some/most of it's for locker room cohesion, but it also has to do with keep their grad rates up as well as conserving resources on who will play.
 

GopherPlaya

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To hit on a few points.

Yes basketball today is position less, what you need to do is be versatile on both ends. You dont have to have a true 5 who doesnt leave the post for example, but if a team like ILL has Kofi you need to be able to defend him, and then on the other end you need to take advantage of his lack of foot speed type thing. Another thing I will caution people on, "well KU/UNC/Duke/Nova didnt play more than 6 guys and they didnt have this or that" sure, that is true, but they have so much top end talent they can dictate play and get away with more things. We arent there yet so we need to play a system better. We certainly can do that, I just dont love the comps between us a top 5 programs.

I have been critical of not using all 13 scholarships, the rebuttal has been hey then not everyone will be happy and you dont play 13 guys. Ben is happy so then we should be happy! I do not doubt any of those things are true. I dont want to say Ben is resting on his laurels and wants to quit recruiting, but I think at times you can kind of get comfy with what you have and over rate it a bit. I will use the example of a dead end job. Sure you are making a living and you think hey my life is fine. Do we just want to be ok with fine? Thats were I am at with this team, obviously love the Garcia/Cooper pickups, the freshman are good, Samuels seems fine. I just was hoping we would make this huge push and really be on the rise. We are going to be better than last year, I want more, i dont want 11th place, I want 1st place! And yes spare me, I know it doesnt happen overnight, I just think we have plateaued after the Cooper pickup. I see that as a plus for Ben, he did awesome early on that gave me a ton of optimism that he was going to hit a grand slam, instead I feel like we got a solid double. Just my take.
I just don't see much in the portal that would give us serious consideration to just add 2 more guys who won't play. I get sh** happens but we have enough depth to get away with a couple of unplanned events such as injuries, suspensions, COVID, etc. I don't think Ben is resting or being complacent either. I think he is being realistic and focusing his energy on 2023 recruiting while focusing on developing and building with what he has now. Is that the right approach? In my opinion yes but I definitely understand why others don't agree. My view is if we can develop the players we have and build chemistry then we will have a good year this year and a great one next year. Also, focusing on 2023 recruiting will help us build a better class than what we put together last year. I have already heard from 2024s locally how much they love this coaching staff so I expect us to get a few top locals in that class.
 

skyman31

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I still find it amusing that we had people griping about not playing freshman more last year and now we have people desperate to find ways not to have to play freshman next year when it looks like Johnson plans to use them. :)

I'm excited to see this team in action. We have a number of really intriguing pieces (Fox, Garcia, Ihnen, Cooper) that we haven't seen in action together but could be a lot of fun to watch if things come together.
It’s possible to both want to play freshmen and also not want to be forced to rely on only playing freshman since there are no other options.
 

Gopherfan84

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I just don't see much in the portal that would give us serious consideration to just add 2 more guys who won't play. I get sh** happens but we have enough depth to get away with a couple of unplanned events such as injuries, suspensions, COVID, etc. I don't think Ben is resting or being complacent either. I think he is being realistic and focusing his energy on 2023 recruiting while focusing on developing and building with what he has now. Is that the right approach? In my opinion yes but I definitely understand why others don't agree. My view is if we can develop the players we have and build chemistry then we will have a good year this year and a great one next year. Also, focusing on 2023 recruiting will help us build a better class than what we put together last year. I have already heard from 2024s locally how much they love this coaching staff so I expect us to get a few top locals in that class.
I've heard a few things about this too. Coaches association is pushing positive Ben vibes as well.
 

GFBfan

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Kendall Brown started with two other guys under 6'3". When Baylor won the national championship they were guard heavy. Villanova is always 4 guards and a post. Iowa St started 3 guards 6'4" and under. UNC started 3 guards 6'4" and under. There are many more, those are just off the top of my head.



I'm referring to a guard. Not all guards are wings. The majority of today's guards are combo guards not just PGs. Many teams run multiple combo guards as I just mentioned. They're typically the most successful.
You are not correct on the bolded comments
Final Four Team starters:
Kansas: 6'1, 6'4, 6'7, 6'8 and 6'10
Villanova: 6'3, 6'4, 6'7, 6'7 and 6'8 and when J Moore 6'4 went down, 6'4 C Daniels replaced him.
UNC: 6', 6'4, 6'8, 6'9 and 6'10
Puke: 6'2, 6'5, 6'6, 6'10, 7'1
Three of the 4 were 2 Guard 3 Forwards.

Our roster next season and potential starting line up could be similar in terms of size to any of those and we have an ability to go bigger or smaller when needed.
 

ethomasp31

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I think you are overstating our line-up and understating the Badgers. They had a few more proven B1G players than we did. Wisconsin also proved the adage that in college basketball, it always helps to have the best player on the court on your team in crunch time. Undermanned teams can hang in, but the stars frequently make the difference in the end.
They beat us by a total of 7 points in two games last year.
 


Bob_Loblaw

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I don't disagree with your points but post defense and especially rebounding were primary issues too. Because of our lousy rebounding we didn't get enough second and third shots or prevent the other team from getting too many second and third shots. I expect that we'll be much better in those areas this year but we really should recruit another established outside shooter even if he comes off the bench.
You're right, he's wrong.

Our offensive efficiency is way better than our defensive efficiency when adjusting for pace. Our PPG was so low because we played really slow. We were middle of the road NCAA team in adjusted offensive efficiency. Our allowed PPG was low because we played slow on offense. We were horrible (like 290 out of 350) in adjusted defensive efficiency - - that's just a metric on the number of points an average ncaa team would score in 100 possessions.

The numbers don't lie, we were MUCH more efficient at putting the ball in the hoop than keeping it out of the hoop.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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I did not say that you wanted the Gophers to lose.

I was responding to your comment saying you were hoping that you were wrong about saying the following comment criticizing the signing of Samuels:

I just do not believe that you hope you are wrong. If so, you will never admit it.

And again, you just make assumptions about my motives which are completely false. Ben wasn't my first or second choice, but he is quickly showing why he was hired.

People are free to critic the coach, but it gets quite tiresome to hear the same few having problems with almost every move that Ben makes. Especially when they know absolutely nothing about the details of the situation.

I know at times I have erroneously accused you of comments that you have not made directly, for that I apologize. I can get caught up responding to a series of messages by just replying to the last one I read.

By the way, real classy move with the personal insults.
Yes, you did. If Samuels struggles, it will hurt the Gophers chances of winning. Why would I want him to struggle? I genuinely hope that 6 months from now Samuels is everything you hope he is and that you have this post bookmarked to make me eat crow. You know what, I'd never do it the other way because I also wouldn't gain any joy from being right if Samuels stinks. I don't think you could find a single post of mine last year when things went sideways of me celebrating the team's failures because I was critical of the hiring.

I like Ben Johnson and I want them to win. Occasionally on fan forums, people will complain and voice criticisms. It's really how they started

I will gladly eat every piece of crow that results comes from me underestimating the Gophers.
 

MNVCGUY

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It’s possible to both want to play freshmen and also not want to be forced to rely on only playing freshman since there are no other options.
Comment was tongue in cheek.....I get the sentiment people have. In a lot of ways this is the perfect situation for working in young players since they won't be counted on to be the stars with Battle and Garcia being the focal points of the offense.
 

Goph4Lyfe

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If you want to consider Black more of a wing, I don't disagree, but he still started with 6'0" and 6'4" combo guards who can score. Braun and Agbaji are both more athletic than Battle and can guard guards.

And we are talking about a tournament birth. I asked earlier to find me one power conference team that made the tournament without a pg or combo guard who was one of that teams leading scorers. I can't think of one currently.
Creighton. Nembhard was their 4th leading scorer, Hawkins, Kalkbrenner, O'Connell all wings or centers. 4 of their 5 leading scorers were wings or centers with Kaluma in the mix as well.
 

short ornery norwegian

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thoughts:

the Gophers played last season without a "true" PG. Willis is a shooting guard who played the point out of necessity. So, just having more of a traditional PG is going to make the offense look - and flow - differently. I would dare say more efficiently.

On Scoring - I think this year's team will see much more diversified scoring. and that leads me to this: I think Fox may make the single biggest difference on the team. An athletic player who can score inside - maybe even on (gasp) offensive rebounds. Last year, other teams didn't have to defend the paint. Now, with Fox and Garcia, defenses will have to stay home more often and it won't be so easy to double-team Battle.

I think Johnson's goal is to have a team that gets scoring from all five positions. This year's group will be closer to that goal. Outside shooting, driving to the lane, more inside game. It won't just be guys jacking up 3-point shots all night.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Creighton. Nembhard was their 4th leading scorer, Hawkins, Kalkbrenner, O'Connell all wings or centers. 4 of their 5 leading scorers were wings or centers with Kaluma in the mix as well.

O'Connell has always been a guard. A very talented one at that.
 


GopherWeatherGuy

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You are not correct on the bolded comments
Final Four Team starters:
Kansas: 6'1, 6'4, 6'7, 6'8 and 6'10
Villanova: 6'3, 6'4, 6'7, 6'7 and 6'8 and when J Moore 6'4 went down, 6'4 C Daniels replaced him.
UNC: 6', 6'4, 6'8, 6'9 and 6'10
Puke: 6'2, 6'5, 6'6, 6'10, 7'1
Three of the 4 were 2 Guard 3 Forwards.

Our roster next season and potential starting line up could be similar in terms of size to any of those and we have an ability to go bigger or smaller when needed.

I messed up thinking Black was smaller for UNC, but he's still a guard. Villanova was a little more wing heavy this year, but 3 of their top 4 scorers were all 6'4" and under guards. Daniels was just the 6th man.

Our lineup will be bigger this season, but it still lacks athleticism, ball handling, and scoring from the guard position. All of those team have that.
 

Johnnyboy18

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TIL you can be a 6'6 guard but can't be a 6'7 or 6'8 guard. Makes sense
 




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