Smith Scores Again With Local Talent

The Minnesota Golden Gophers now own commitments from the two best players in the state for 2009. Rodney Williams stepped off a plane returning from the West Coast and ended his recruitment.

Times are changing at Minnesota. As of Sunday night, the two top high school players in the state are property of the Golden Gophers.

Rodney Williams, a 6-foot-6 small forward out of New Hope (Minn.) Robbinsdale Cooper, committed to the Gophers shortly after he returned home from his official visit to Santa Clara. He joins Top 30 prospect Royce White, his Pulley Panthers teammate, in the Gophers' recruiting class.

"I think what it says is that Tubby's done a helluva job (in-state)," Rene Pulley, Williams coach said. He's the first one of all the coaches in the last 20 years, that has kept the best players in the state of Minnesota. That's going to be the trend."

"Other people might want to stay home now too, now that we did it," Williams said. The athletic wing averaged 21 points as a junior.

"He's a freak athlete. He's the best (athlete)) from Minnesota that I've ever had in the last 30 years."

There probably wasn't much Santa Clara could have done to counter Minnesota's conference allegiance, location or national profile. However, according to Pulley, Santa Clara was a viable second choice.

"He loved Santa Clara with that young coaching staff and Kerry Keating. Santa Clara was a helluva second choice."

Coming off a Top 25 class that laid the foundation for the Gophers, Smith now has the best two forwards in the state committed and just infused his program with high-grade local talent. The Gophers also branched out into California and landed point guard Justin Cobbs last weekend.

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