Gopher Basketball: 2016 class update

GopherDigest takes a look at Minnesota's top basketball targets heading into the heart of July.

Already committed:
Minnesota small forward Michael Hurt - Hurt chose the Gophers over Northwestern and Nebraska last winter and is a natural rebounder and that is a skill that always follows to college. Hurt rebounds on both ends with a great feel and Gopher fans can expect Hurt to be a shooter out on the wing and always be giving it all at both ends.

Top targets:
1) Hopkins (Minn.) small forward Amir Coffey - For us at GopherDigest, it's clear that Coffey is Pitino's top target for a multitude of reasons. He's an in-state player with an elite talent that could immediately contribute right away on the wing for Minnesota with Carlos Morris graduating after this season. At 6-foot-7 getting a look at the rim is easy for Amir and his left-handed release is quick. There are of course the obvious open floor throw down finishes that go without saying but the more impressive attacks are the ones where Amir takes contact and then extends with the length to finish the play. Another part of his game that sets him apart is his length. It's so unfair as he's being defended by guards and wings that are always so much shorter. Coffey simply gets the angle to finish plays over and over. Minnesota will have to battle with Iowa State and Marquette the most at this point as staying close to home is factor for Hopkins product.

2) Maple Grove (Minn.) power forward Reed Nikko - The in-state big man recently picked up his first two Big Ten offers from Minnesota and Iowa and could be on the verge from schools like Miami (Fla.). Nikko has played both power forward and center in his career and he has schools interested because of his massive potential. Nikko's length, the size of his hands, his agility getting up and down the floor, and his shot blocking (had the best shot blocking rate in the UAA this spring) all scream potential. GopherDigest believes Minnesota is definitely a school to watch closely with Nikko as his mother is an alum of the Gophers. I'd look for a decision sometime around September.

3) Brooklyn (N.Y.) point guard Shamorie Ponds - Ponds is one of Minnesota's top 2016 targets and arguably the top point guard target. He's very good at the Gophers style of play as he is very aggressive in the passing lanes and harassing guards with ball pressure. Offensively he's one of the better players moving around the perimeter to get to space with feet set and unload long range attempts before a defense can contest. The lift on Shamorie's jumper is big plus he's able to get to spots where the defense can not contest shots. Minnesota will have a tough battle ahead from schools like St. Johns and Creighton among others. Look for Coach Kimani Young among others to try and secure an official visit this fall.

Other top targets:
- Missouri small forward Xavier Sneed - Sneed is a long armed, athletic small forward that runs well and plays with a motor, which is why so many schools want him. Here's what he told GopherDigest:

"I've heard from Creighton, Xavier, Missouri, Illinois, Wichita State, Kansas State, Minnesota and Saint Louis lately. I also think Arkansas is close to an offer. My family and I are in the process of choosing my top five schools and are hoping to come out with one sometime soon."

- Massachusetts power forward Kevin Marfo - Marfo is exactly the type of rebounder that Minnesota needs around the basket at the four spot. He has a frame to put on enough muscle to guard fours and fives but moves well enough to deal with bigs around screens on the perimeter as well. This is what he told GopherDigest:

"I'm still hearing from the same schools like Boston College, Minnesota, Xavier and St. Joesph's. I'm still in contact with Minnesota and they told me that I'm their number one priority at my positon, which I'm happy they feel that way. Minnesota is a good school."

- Arkansas power forward Eric Curry - At 6-foot-8, long, and explosive Curry's game is a strong fit for the Minnesota full court trapping and attacking style of play. This is what he told GopherDigest earlier this week:

"I'm still very much open as in my recruiting, but I'm very interested in Minnesota with this new offer as I think I can fit their style of play."

- New Jersey shooting guard Jagan Mosely - Mosely is physical with other guards using his upper body strength to attack and he has the handling skill to take care of the ball, he's agile enough to score and defend as a shooting guard, and Jagan has the strength to step on a college floor and play early because he can guard several positions including some small forwards if he has to. Here's what he told GopherDigest:

"I've heard the most from Xavier, Harvard, Boston, Georgia Tech, SMU and Temple lately. Coach Pitino and Coach Young were at some of games at Peach Jam last weekend and they were telling me that I need to be more aggressive. I'm planning some visits soon with my dad, but I don't know where too yet."

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories