Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino is experimenting with a potentially big starting lineup this season. In a report from Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press, Pitino believes that since the Big Ten has a lot of naturally big lineups that he might need to adjust.
Pitino said that a starting lineup could include Nate Mason, Carlos Morris, Charles Buggs, Joey King and Bakary Konate. While Mason and Morris present good natural size in the backcourt, the 6-foot-9 Buggs playing at small forward could be a major change.
“In my ideal world, that’s a big lineup, pretty talented,” Pitino said to reporters on Friday. “The one thing you learn is that you make a plan and you know it’s going to change. But I like the size of that lineup. I like the speed. I like the athleticism.
“But again, if guys aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do, you have to be willing to change.”
Seeing Pitino looking towards this lineup is intriguing since he has some talented and athletic freshman wings and guards in the mix. If Buggs and the big lineup is used, it means the Golden Gophers could be deep on the perimeter, bringing talented freshmen like Kevin Dorsey, Dupree McBrayer and Jordan Murphy off the bench.
Obviously, injuries and the way certain players respond to these lineups could change a lot before the beginning of the season, but for now, this will be something to monitor in the preseason.
One of the July evaluation period’s biggest stock risers, Arkansas native Eric Curry, will decide between three schools this week, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com.
The 6-foot-8 forward from Little Rock will pick this week between Arkansas, Iowa State and Minnesota. Playing with the Arkansas Wings in the Nike EYBL this spring and summer, Curry averaged 10.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game playing on a very balanced team.
Over the summer, Curry showed an improved skill set and he has the capability of being a versatile forward at the next level thanks to his athleticism. While Curry has to improve his perimeter game in order to play on the wing, he has the quickness to be a matchup problem if he can add that to his repertoire.
Currently regarded as the No. 141 overall prospect in the Rivals150, Curry is coming off of a recent official visit to in-state Arkansas and the Razorbacks are hoping to keep Curry home.
Minnesota also hosted Curry for an official visit during the process and the Golden Gophers have some recruiting momentum after adding four-star in-state guard Amir Coffey this week.
Iowa State’s official visit was sandwiched in between the trips to Minnesota and Arkansas and the Cyclones are trying to find a suitable replacement for the versatility of senior forward Georges Niang.
Minnesota got one of its key recruiting targets to stay home as four-star wing Amir Coffey committed to the Golden Gophers during a Monday afternoon press conference. The 6-foot-6 Coffey, who attends Hopkins High School in Minnetonka, is currently regarded as the No. 54 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.
With the addition of Coffey, the Golden Gophers are getting a talented perimeter shooter who can knock down shots from well behind the 3-point line. While Coffey just recently returned from a torn ACL that he suffered in January that forced him to miss the spring and summer grassroots season, he’s now returned to the court and is drawing positive reviews during his comeback.
Coffey follows in the footsteps of his father Richard, who started four years at Minnesota from 1986-1990 before playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves during the 1990-91 season.
The younger Coffey joins another in-state product, three-star small forward Michael Hurt, in Minnesota’s Class of 2016. Both Coffey and Hurt can spread the floor and hit shots and bring some good size on the wing for the future.