–> Follow @Tony Liebert on Twitter
Currently on a 12-game losing streak, and nearly a week removed from 5-star savior Dennis Evans asking for a release from his NLI; the Gophers basketball program and more importantly Ben Johnson desperately needed some good news. The No. 2 ranked player in MN (according to 247sports) Isaac Asuma committed to the Gophers Thursday after officially visiting the school last weekend. Currently playing for Cherry High School (pop: ~863) on the Iron Range, Asuma chose Minnesota over top offers from Iowa State, Iowa and TCU.
2024 Top-150 recruit Isaac Asuma tells me he’s committed to Minnesota.
“I think they have a great vision for the future of the program.”
Asuma discusses his decision here: https://t.co/Dkn0tcnLNi pic.twitter.com/uEg4KLHY4N
— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) March 3, 2023
Who is Isaac Asuma?:
Listed at 6-foot-2, 185 pounds Isaac Asuma is one of the best high school players in Minnesota, currently playing for Cherry High School (Class 1A). Although Asuma has certainly put up video game-like numbers at the high school level, he has dominated on the AAU circuit with local programs like Grassroots Sizzle and D1 Minnesota. TCU was Asuma’s first offer in April of last year, but the Gophers shortly joined; followed by Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska, Xavier and Butler. After taking his official visit to Dinkytown last weekend, the No. 128-ranked player in the country quickly decided to pledge his commitment to the Maroon & Gold.
- Scouting Report:
Asuma is a very smooth, high-IQ point guard. Listed at 6-foot-2, his size isn’t a strength, but it isn’t a weakness either. He is at his best while on the ball, but he has the skill set to play off it as well. He has a very similar skillset to current Gophers’ freshman Braeden Carrington; impressive ball handler, with a smooth shooting stroke, with room to improve as a facilitator. I think where Asuma excels most is on the defensive end, he has a great motor, which consistently shows up at any level. The Gophers have desperately needed an athletic high-IQ guard this season and Asuma will provide that.
**High School Basketball Highlights:
The Gophers’ 2024 recruiting class will be “make-or-break” for Ben Johnson. With Jack Robison (Lakeville North) already committed to Wisconsin and Daniel Freitag (Jefferson) likely out of the picture along with Jackson McAndrew (Wayzata) and Cash Chavis (Park Center), Asuma was as close to a must-have as you can get when it comes to recruiting. Johnson will have every opportunity to improve this class outside of Minnesota, but going ‘o-for’ in his home state would’ve been a tough look.
Asuma is far from a program-changing commitment, but he is the type of player that will help you win basketball games. He is the type of player Ben Johnson was brought in to keep in the state. He is the type of player that would make Gophers fans furious tearing it up for another Big Ten/Midwest program. He has plenty of potential and every chance to be a starting guard in the Big Ten. The Gophers have desperately needed a secondary shot creator this season; a void that Asuma could fill when he arrives.
What is next?:
With as many as three more open scholarship spots for 2024-25, when Asuma arrives; I could see Johnson and the Gophers adding one or two more recruits for the 2024 class, but in this era of college sports, roster flexibility is key. In 2024-25, the Gophers program is “hopefully” in a much better place where Asuma can develop at a traditional 4-star freshman pace. With eligibility always a question, the Gophers roster could look a lot different when Asuma arrives, but here is a rough look at what it could possibly look like.
- PG: Braeden Carrington/Isaac Asuma
- SG: Cam Christie
- SF: Jaden Henley/Kadyn Betts
- PF: Dawson Garcia/*Parker Fox
- C: Pharrel Payne/Josh Ola-Joseph
This commitment is far from solving any concerns that are present with the Ben Johnson-led Gophers, but it certainly is a step in the right direction. Johnson has gotten screwed with a lot of injuries and Evans’ de-commitment only compounded things. This program needs a lot to change in order to consistently compete at the Big Ten level, but Isaac Asuma is a winning basketball player, which will only help the cause.