Tubby Smith Breaks Down Roster

During the Gopher basketball team's annual media day, head coach Tubby Smith broke down the players on his 2011-2012 squad.

Tubby Smith on sophomore guard Maverick Ahanmisi:
"Maverick has improved a lot. Maverick is a kid that played well in the second half of the season. In fact, his shooting percentage is about the only shooting percentage that improved in league play. He may have been the only guy on our team that his shooting percentages improved during league play."

On freshmen guards Joe Coleman and Andre Hollins:
"They're both freshmen that have shown maturity beyond their years and beyond their experience so far. This summer, I can't say enough about how committed and how dedicated those two guys are. They never missed anything. They never missed a class, a meeting, a workout."

On redshirt freshman center Elliot Elliason:
"I think Elliott has made tremendous strides. His strength, his body, his transformation from his freshman year to now has been outstanding. He's got a good work ethic. He's very aggressive. He's very physical. He'll give us a real presence because he understands how to play the game. He'll have to make the adjustment getting back to playing."

On redshirt sophormore forward Chris Halverson:
"Chris is probably one of our best athletes on the team. He's a guy that's more of a power forward than he is anything else at this point."

On sophomore wing Austin Hollins:
"I think Austin averaged all the most minutes of all the returning sophomores. He averaged about 15, 16 minutes a game, which is good. He didn't shoot the ball well, but he led us in steals and deflections per minutes played. Very active, very athletic, and he's going to be vying for that starting spot at the shooting guard spot. He's a guy that has improved his outside shooting, improved his strength. You combine that with his hard-nosed toughness, and it's going to be hard for someone to beat him out if he's got an opportunity to start."

On junior power forward Andre Ingram:
"Great attitude, great work ethic. He's about 6-7, really a leaper, strong rebounder. He'll give us some added depth in the front court that we need."

On the frontcourt duo of Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III:
"The seniors are the most experienced and the guys that we feel are the most mature and are going to have to carry the load this year."

"Trevor and Ralph will give us a very good front court. They both averaged double figures in scoring, and Ralph has improved each year. His stats have gone up each year, and I expect him to do the same this year. He's one of the top shot blockers in the league. His shooting was a little off last year, but he'll be a lot better this year. He needed to get the ball to the basket more, get to the free throw line, and he'll be fine."

"Trevor had a good summer, playing with the U.S.A. world university team. He played in the LeBron James camp. He's coming back a pre-season all-conference pick, and probably a nominee for the Wooden Award. If he can play like he did last year, he'll make a lot of noise."

On redshirt freshman forward Oto Osenieks:
"I like his range on his jump shot. He'll give us a real three-point threat, something that we struggled with last year."

On sophomore big man Mo Walker:
"He's not going to be ready for practice, for full contact, for awhile. Maybe in a week or two."

On transfer combo guard Julian Welch:
"He's a kid that is multifaceted, that can play the point guard spot or the shooting guard, or either wing position. I like his toughness. He's got a lot of games under his belt, having played at UC-Davis and then having played at junior college. He's a scoring guard that can be a point guard for us. I like his basketball understanding."

On junior small forward Rodney Williams:
"Rodney, he's a guy that has had a good summer. He did some work, went out and had some training. He did some work in Chicago. He was invited to LeBron James' camp. I think he's got a lot of confidence. He's working on trying to change his shot, but it's always tough. That's a tough thing to do. I think his getting stronger will make him more physical. It'll make him tougher. One of the areas I've tried to challenge him with is just to be tougher. It's hard to be tough when you're not physical. One of the things I'm trying to get him to be is just be stronger and you can be more physical."

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