Minnesota loses Joe Coleman, but adds FIU transfer Malik Smith

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Minnesota got some bad news on late on Tuesday night as Joe Coleman, a starting guard for the Gophers, asked for his release to transfer out of the program.

With Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams graduating, Coleman, who averaged 8.7 points as a sophomore, is the third starter that played for Tubby Smith last season that is gone. He’s a big, athletic guard, and while his departure will sting, he was as inconsistent as Minnesota was a season ago. He struggled mightily during the second half of the season.

Things aren’t all bad for new head coach Richard Pitino, as he found out on Wednesday morning that he would have someone to replace Coleman immediately.

Malik Smith, a JuCo transfer that played his junior year at Florida International, announced that he would be transferring to Minnesota. He’ll be eligible immediately since he has just one year of eligibility remaining and FIU is ineligible for the postseason. The NCAA has a bylaw that allows for transfers to become immediately eligible if their current institution is banned from postseason play for the remainder of their eligibility. It’s how Alex Oriakhi was able to play at Missouri immediately last season.

Smith is a 6-foot-2 scoring guard that averaged 14.1 points last season, hitting 36.2% of his threes while shooting more than eight per game. He’ll fit in nicely alongside Andre and Austin Hollins, and he’s already spent a season playing in Pitino’s system.

In other words, losing Coleman may sting, but replacing him with Smith certainly eases the pain.

Minnesota is going to need their back court to be their strength if they are going to compete in the Big Ten next season. Without Mbakwe and Williams, their front line will be made up of Elliot Eliason, Mo Walker and Oto Osenieks, none of who will strike fear in the heart of big men like Adreian Payne or Mitch McGary.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.


Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.