This isn't going as planned

EG#9

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There were several notable voices in the Gopher fan community that suggested that those of us that were shocked by the Ben Johnson hire didn't get "it". These voices suggested that Ben would clean up with in-state recruiting and make a dent nationally as well. It was strongly hinted publicly (and stated more directly privately) that guys would be coming home that would excite the fan base and that at least one intriguing guard from Ben's time at Xavier would be coming as well. An assistant coaching staff full of established names was coming too (hey at least they got Thorson right!).

When Gabe Kalscheur committed to ISU despite his former high school coach being on the Gopher staff and his lead recruiter becoming the head coach, I was willing to buy from these same voices that Gabe needed a change of scenery and was leaving "no matter what". When Eli King committed to ISU becoming the first Minnesota kid with a Gopher offer to EVER commit to Iowa State (that's right not Hoiberg, not Floyd, but Otz taking over a 2-23 team or whaterver), I was willing to buy that King wasn't one of the top 5 in-state targets of Ben Johnson's and that Otz's prior relationship with his brother was big. Then Heide commits to Purdue. The line from these same voices (some of whom liked our chances with him just a week or so prior as he was one of "the five") suggested that it was unrealistic to sign a kid whose parents were alumni of another school (imagine expecting the Gophers to land kids of alums that live out of state like it was automatic...). Now before and after these specific recruitments, we saw a number of Minnesota kids choose to stay where they were or go elsewhere despite having previous relationships with Ben and very clear access to starting roles and plenty of minutes here. The Xavier player (or players) never happened. Someone named Charlie Daniels was signed to a scholarship (14.2 minutes, 4.3 pts and 3.1 rebounds over 2 years for a low major Stephen F. Austin team) while Brandon Johnson transfers to....DePaul. We're now in to July and the best option at either the 4 or the 5 position is probably Jamison Battle who is more of a 3/4. The Dawson Garcia news lead me to post because he was heavily hinted/rumored to be a Gopher if he didn't stay in the draft from the voices defending a Ben Johnson hire (going back to April). Garcia would have been HUGE for Ben Johnson. He could offer him the featured role/most shots in the offense (something he's unlikely to get at Texas/UNC/Arizona) and Johnson would have a shot at putting a Minnesota kid in to the pros in his first year as a head coach...giving him something to sell. Not only will Garcia not be coming to Minnesota, it was never even close...it was all BS...which makes you wonder if you should believe some of the same voices who've made excuses for the other misses.

Ben clearly went with a strategy of bringing in guys with one year to play (Garcia would essentially be this too as he's clearly eyeing the draft) so he could sell minutes/playing time to the 2022 class. Contrast this to Otz at Iowa State who got a top ~50 ish PG to re-commit to Iowa State in the 2021 class. Then he got the top PG in Iowa (Lipsey from Ames) to commit to him for the 2022 class, then he gets Gabe who has two years left at SG...and still gets Eli King to come in the 2022 class as a SG. He gets a nice piece from Penn State in Brockington, a former top 50-75 recruit from Kansas in Tristan Enaruna, and keeps returning Freshman (due to pandemic) former top recruit Xavier Foster in the fold. How about Shaka at Marquette? Loses Dawson Garcia, but picks up B1G Defensive player of the year Darryl Morsell, brings/keeps 5 2021 Freshman in the fold ranked 89, 106, 115, 158, and 197 and brought in a Freshman transfer from Clemson that was 108 in 2020. I am not saying either of these are spectacular starts to a tenure but they both far exceed what we've seen (on paper) from Ben Johnson to date...and recruiting was supposed to be the sure thing.

This 2022 class is huge and just getting the 2nd tier guys in Minnesota isn't going to cut it...especially with so many eggs in that basket given how the roster was put together for the '21-22 season. This roster could have been constructed in any way Ben Johnson saw fit. He had all the playing time and shots in the world to offer guys and he went the route he did (I acutally like some of these guys and think they upgraded spots say 4--7 on the roster...but those guys are going to need to be 1-4). He strategically put together a roster in a way where there were clear paths to start in '22 for all his top high school targets which I don't think is necessary for a good recruiter (see the Otz example above), but makes it imperative that he land said targets. He hired a staff where only one assistant has recruited at the high major level and that was Thorson some 30 years ago. Ben himself will be the youngest coach in the B1G, no track record of success as an assistant, and the only coach with zero head coaching experience. Recruiting and roster building was supposed be the given here and it hasn't been to date. As long as he brings in a very good '22 class this Spring/Summer season won't matter, but an underwhelming class signing in November followed by what most see as a likely ugly season ending in March and that becomes a very deep hole to dig out of.
 

goldenboy

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I think you’ve accurately summarized the situation (but could have also noted losing the entire returning roster but one). The longer this goes without a few notable commits, the greater the anxiety among the fan base. If a few more top tier MN kids choose other destinations, the pressure will increase even more. Johnson could still surprise us, but the early performance is about as bad as it gets.
 





UpAndUnder43

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Really solid post and sums up my own thoughts very well. Lots of issues and the goal posts keep moving with Johnson’s supporters. If anyone who believes he was the correct hire can defend his tenure so far I’d love to see why beyond “give it time” and “high character guys”
 

ekeg0002

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Spot on. The apologists are telling us that losing the entire returning roster except Ihnen (and now Curry, I guess) doesn't matter, and that its all about 2022. But you have highlighted several coaches that were able to get really competitive transfers eligible for 2021 while STILL amazingly getting 2022 recruits as well. The Fox injury is obviously not Johnson's fault, and I like the Jamison Battle get, but this 2021 team is going to be an epic sh*t show at this rate....and as of today there is nothing in the cupboard for 2022.

We all get that it's not easy, but the reason we hired this coach with zero head coaching experience is his alleged ability to get MN talent.
 

Bad Gopher

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I've been a fan since '82 and a season ticket holder since '90, and I've never felt this much outright dread about the state of the program. Even in the wake of Madison and Ganglehoff there was reason for hope with the players that were coming back and new coaches with actual resumes.

Dread is not too strong a word, and that's what I feel. This roster has markedly less talent than Pitino's squad that was arguably the worst team in program history. How do you pick up the pieces after that, if it goes as poorly as expected? What's there to build on? At least an experienced coach could point to past accomplishments they were presumably hired on the strength of. I don't know what there'll be to sell, and I'm always the one on here writing about all the things the U has going for it.

One way or another, even the more gloomy posters here acknowledge that we're committed to giving Johnson at least a few years to build his program. I hope but honestly question whether the lower bowl will be two-thirds full of fans by that time.
 

Stan

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Of course we need to give him time, and of course he could surprise us, but everything in OP is spot on. The comparisons to Iowa St are scary yet spot on as well. No way around it, this is not going as planned, to date.

Oh and where are all these AAU coaches that supposedly loved the Johnson hire?
 



MennoSota

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It's clear that Mark, the snake, Coyle is working to eliminate men's basketball from the budget. With the age of student athletes making money off sponsorship it's clear that UMN cannot compete and cannot succeed. The Regents should begin the demolition of Williams Arena as well as Huntington Bank Stadium. They will then replace these sites with a Black Lives Matter Art Park that will attract millions to the area and fill up the coffers as UMN becomes the reigning champion in protest art competitions. Minnesota will reign supreme as the Comrade Center of North America and will switch its colors from Maroon to communist Red.
Go Gophers!
 

Stan

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It's clear that Mark, the snake, Coyle is working to eliminate men's basketball from the budget. With the age of student athletes making money off sponsorship it's clear that UMN cannot compete and cannot succeed. The Regents should begin the demolition of Williams Arena as well as Huntington Bank Stadium. They will then replace these sites with a Black Lives Matter Art Park that will attract millions to the area and fill up the coffers as UMN becomes the reigning champion in protest art competitions. Minnesota will reign supreme as the Comrade Center of North America and will switch its colors from Maroon to communist Red.
Go Gophers!
Dumb post. Like, really dumb.
 


GoldenMAV30266

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Dumb post. Like, really dumb.
Agreed, even tho it was clearly an attempt at a sarcastic joke lol. Minnesota is FULL of Fortune 500 companies and former gophers who made it professionally that can sling some money to gophers via sponsorship.

lets pay Manley whatever he’d get overseas for one year of service here lol.
 



alchemy2u

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As who planned? A group of message board posters that expect the U to bring back everyone in the portal that have played on a court in Minnesota?

Of course Ben has not gotten every player he had hoped to get, but the ones he has do fit his culture and will develop a foundation for his style. He is developing good lines of communication with top local and national players. He has a very good coaching staff.

It is very shortsighted and naive to declare his plan has already failed.
 

Johnnyboy18

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I'm not sure if a lot of you watched last year but it was clear the team had no chemistry on the court. I'd argue Johnson only wanted to keep Johnson, Ihnen, Gach, Gabe, and Robbins from last years team. Gabe has been discussed and he decided not to hire Robbins uncle so that ship sailed.

I think he hit on the guys he wanted as guards and bungled the front court recruitment. He finished 2nd for Rebreeca. The coach he wanted was expected to bring in the starting 4 and that fell through. Mitchell appears to be going pro overseas. Manley may go pro overseas as well. Parker tore his ACL. So he got forced to reach for a backup big in Daniels and not sure what else is out there in July for front court help.

2022 recruiting is weird this year but I expect he will land a solid class by November. If not this will be a large issue due to the team probably not performing the greatest. Though I'd argue the teams performance the last couple of years has a lot to do with no 2022 recruits thus far and the misses in the transfer portal.
 

Stan

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As who planned? A group of message board posters that expect the U to bring back everyone in the portal that have played on a court in Minnesota?

Of course Ben has not gotten every player he had hoped to get, but the ones he has do fit his culture and will develop a foundation for his style. He is developing good lines of communication with top local and national players. He has a very good coaching staff.

It is very shortsighted and naive to declare his plan has already failed.

No one has declared his plan has already failed. But it’s hard to justify things have gone as expected, to date. Obviously that can change but we are discussing data as it is currently available.
 

Stan

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As who planned? A group of message board posters that expect the U to bring back everyone in the portal that have played on a court in Minnesota?

Of course Ben has not gotten every player he had hoped to get, but the ones he has do fit his culture and will develop a foundation for his style. He is developing good lines of communication with top local and national players. He has a very good coaching staff.

It is very shortsighted and naive to declare his plan has already failed.
I just re-read OP, where did anyone say the plan already failed? Or are you just using hyperbole to push goal posts?
 

Blackhammer

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We obviously have to be patient and give Ben time. But what has happened at other schools with new coaches is a bit concerned. Iowa State a prime example and only retaining one returning player and apparently that was a struggle makes me wonder if this program and city has no appeal to kids Johnson and his staff will be given time to prove that’s incorrect and I remain hopeful
 

Spaulding!No!

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Ben does meet weekly with his confidence coach so we should see results soon.
 


Bob_Loblaw

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As who planned? A group of message board posters that expect the U to bring back everyone in the portal that have played on a court in Minnesota?

Of course Ben has not gotten every player he had hoped to get, but the ones he has do fit his culture and will develop a foundation for his style. He is developing good lines of communication with top local and national players. He has a very good coaching staff.

It is very shortsighted and naive to declare his plan has already failed.
My god, I hope it isn't going as Ben and Mark Coyle planned.
 

cjbfbp

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This roster has markedly less talent than Pitino's squad that was arguably the worst team in program history.
I have doubts about that because of this team's guards. This is a very mature guard group and, except for Sutherlin, they have demonstrated that they are decent to good shooters albeit at lower levels of competition.

Pitino's guards on the 2015-16 team included 3 freshman, 1 soph, and a senior who was kicked off the team. Not a single one of them had a true shooting percentage over .500 that year:

Mason: .493
Morris: .476
McBrayer: .441
Dorsey: .453
Gilbert: .365

Here are the career D1 true shooting percentages of this team's guards:

Willis: .540
Stephens: .544
Loewe: .569
Sutherlin at .467 in his one season at New Hampshire was well below the others but he racked up fairly impressive non-shooting stats while there.

I don't know Thiam's True Shooting Percentage as a junior college freshman but he shot 56.1% overall and 48.5% on 3s so the calculated number would be pretty high. His shooting also improved through his freshman year. In his last 10 games, he averaged 18.5 points a game coming off the bench.

If the offense gets these guys open shots, I think they can knock them down better than the guards on Pitino's worst team.

The front court recruiting has been underwhelming to say the least but I believe we'll still get at least one more there. If so, I believe they can be at least adequate.
 

GoldenMAV30266

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Dumb post. Like, really dumb.
Agreed, even tho it was clearly an attempt at a sarcastic joke lol. Minnesota is FULL of Fortune 500 companies and former gophers who made it professionally that can sling some money to gophers via sponsorship.

lets pay Manley whatever he’d get overseas for one year of service here lol.
 

Bob_Loblaw

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I am pulling for Ben and I really do believe we are fortunate with the extraordinary depth of the 2022 MN class. I think if Ben landed Payne, Carrington, and Ola-Joseph, I think it would be a pretty good class. So Ben has every opportunity to build the program.

That said, the OP is really pointing out something that is problematic with portions of the fan base. From some members of the board, I've learned that Ben is qualified for the job because he was hired and he was hired because he's qualified. I've learned that Ben is going to better position us to land local recruits but we shouldn't expect to land better local recruits. It's not really moving goalposts as much as it is revolving goalposts.

Obviously Ben deserves time and it's too early to come to any conclusions. However, I don't know if Ben has earned a giant leash and it's totally fair for the fan base to point to issues.
 

UMwolverine

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I'm sure I'm not the smartest poster on this forum. I certainly know less about Minnesota athletics than most here, but what I do have is experience (I'm old) and a more objective view than most (my primary allegiance is to a different UM).

I've seen fanbases tear into each other and a new coach before. It ain't pretty nor is it productive. Setting up expectations of winning x number of games or signing x number of top local prospects in the first year or two is counter productive. Giving great effort, working well together as a team, representing UM well on the court and off, showing that the team is well coahed--these should be the early goals. You should be willing to give Johnson 2-3 years to show show what he can do in recruiting and 4-5 years to start finishing in the top half of the big ten, then improve beyond that. Just my 2 cents. Now get off my lawn and stop shooting off fireworks after 10 pm when decent folk are trying to sleep!
 

salzie

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I am pulling for Ben and I really do believe we are fortunate with the extraordinary depth of the 2022 MN class. I think if Ben landed Payne, Carrington, and Ola-Joseph, I think it would be a pretty good class. So Ben has every opportunity to build the program.

That said, the OP is really pointing out something that is problematic with portions of the fan base. From some members of the board, I've learned that Ben is qualified for the job because he was hired and he was hired because he's qualified. I've learned that Ben is going to better position us to land local recruits but we shouldn't expect to land better local recruits. It's not really moving goalposts as much as it is revolving goalposts.

Obviously Ben deserves time and it's too early to come to any conclusions. However, I don't know if Ben has earned a giant leash and it's totally fair for the fan base to point to issues.
There are also members of board that hated hire from day one and are jumping on Ben already. They believe the hire of Ben was 100% political and want him to fail

we wont' know if Ben is a failure this summer, this fall, or even next spring. Ben, like any coach will need time.

I am hoping for good news soon to get some of you off the ledge, but cripes
 

LesBolstad

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If you don't think other programs are using the Minneapolis crime/racial upheaval as a negative recruiting angle; you're living in a dream world. You want your kid in Ames or Minneapolis?
BJ is dealing with this every day.
 

Johnnyboy18

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I'm sure I'm not the smartest poster on this forum. I certainly know less about Minnesota athletics than most here, but what I do have is experience (I'm old) and a more objective view than most (my primary allegiance is to a different UM).

I've seen fanbases tear into each other and a new coach before. It ain't pretty nor is it productive. Setting up expectations of winning x number of games or signing x number of top local prospects in the first year or two is counter productive. Giving great effort, working well together as a team, representing UM well on the court and off, showing that the team is well coahed--these should be the early goals. You should be willing to give Johnson 2-3 years to show show what he can do in recruiting and 4-5 years to start finishing in the top half of the big ten, then improve beyond that. Just my 2 cents. Now get off my lawn and stop shooting off fireworks after 10 pm when decent folk are trying to sleep!
Yeah some of the same posters did the same thing to Fleck and declared if he didn't win 9 games in the first year he was a bad hire.
 

salzie

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If you don't think other programs are using the Minneapolis crime/racial upheaval as a negative recruiting angle; you're living in a dream world. You want your kid in Ames or Minneapolis?
BJ is dealing with this every day.

tenor.gif
 

salzie

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Yeah some of the same posters did the same thing to Fleck and declared if he didn't win 9 games in the first year he was a bad hire.
there are still people ready to run fleck out of town after last season not living up to expectations

Fleck does need to work on his record vs ia/wi
 




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