What Canada Trip Means for Gophers

Minnesota's preseason trip to Canada gave insight into some important aspects of the 2010-2011 Gopher basketball team.

The trip to Canada showed a few things about how the Gophers could look this season. The first part of the trip to take note of is the outstanding play from experienced guards, Blake Hoffarber and Devoe Joseph. Joseph averaged 17.3 points per game while Hoffarber put up 13.0. The two combined to shoot 22 for 48 from deep for an amazing 44.8 percent. It should come as no surprise but these two were the scoring threats the Gophers needed. In the coming season, fans should obviously be on the lookout for strong scoring performances from both guards. With the departure of leading scorer Lawrence Westbrook, 12.8 points per game, the Gophers will need players to step up to continue last year's scoring trend. Junior transfer Trevor Mbakwe also played very well during his time in Canada. Mbakwe averaged an impressive 11.0 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward has been playing well in practice, despite his absence from the team last season. Mbakwe has not been shy about his desire to be a dominating force for the Gophers this season. It was reported that his goal is to lead the Big Ten in rebound. If Mbakwe can be a tenacious rebounder, while scoring points on the offensive end blocking shots on defense, he will be one of the Gophers' top players this season. Another positive area for the Gophers was the solid play was the play of Minnesota's big men. Most noticeable was the play of freshman Mo Walker. Walker, who hails from Canada, had a dominant performance in his home country. The 6-foot-10, 289-pound forwards had averaged 8.3 points per game while leading the team with 7.7 points per game. Center Colton Iverson also had a huge week. Iverson averaged 10.3 points per game as well as snagging a handful of rebounds in each game. Iverson started to make strides at the end of last season, becoming a better post score and defender as well as having more of a nose for finding rebounds. If the Gopher big men can play well together they will be a formidable front court. Having huge players who can score, rebound and defend will be tough to handle of any opponent of the Maroon and Gold.

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