Gopher Basketball: 2016 Three Most Wanted

GopherDigest takes a look at Minnesota's top three most wanted basketball targets for the 2016 class heading into official visit season.

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, but also could potentially get some time at point guard as well, which is very intriguing to the top 50 talent. 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. From what GopherDigest has heard lately, it sounds like Iowa State and Marquette are on the outside looking in on Minnesota and potentially Texas right now. If no other big schools jump in on Coffey, Minnesota is looking good to potentially land a great player in Coffey.

2) Brooklyn (N.Y.) point guard Shamorie Ponds - Ponds is one of Minnesota's top 2016 targets and to me, the top point guard target. It's been widely speculated that Ponds is seriously thinking about staying home and playing for St. Johns, but he's put off a decision a couple times here recently, and has said he'll be taking official visits, which is great news for Minnesota's chances. The Brooklyn point guard would fit right into Pitino's scheme as he's a very quick point guard who is best in transition due to his ball handling and ability to change speeds. He's a talented shooter off the dribble and can create his own shot. Ponds tends to be shoot-first but does have strong vision and can really create for others. His handle, speed, shooting and vision allow him to play in both half court and transition settings. If Minnesota is able to get Ponds to hold off a few more days as he's taking his official visit to St. John's this weekend, I like the Gophers chances, but the Red Storm are doing well with him right now. If Ponds does end up visiting Minnesota, the Gophers will have as good as chance as any, if he doesn't and commits before, well, onto the next.

3) Little Rock (Ark.) power forward Eric Curry- The Arkansas forward was offered over the summer and already has an official visit set for the TCU game next week. Curry is on his way to becoming a modern, hybrid forward. The 6-8, 200-pound prospect from Little Rock still must add polish as a handler, passer and jump shooter, but he has made impressive progress in those areas and already possesses admirable versatility as a defender and transition scorer. Curry is the only big man to have scheduled an official visit, which makes me think he's the top forward target on the board. Minnesota will do their best to try and get Curry committed soon after his visit.

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