The hope for Minnesota is that Illinois State transfer Reggie Lynch is good to go this October and is Minnesota’s starting center. What will the Gophers look like with the 6-foot-9, 260 pound big in the paint? GI dives into that topic through the Focus Series.
As a sophomore Lynch put up 9.5 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22 minutes a game in the Missouri Valley Conference. Even better was his 2.8 blocks per game blocking a shot once every 7.8 minutes which is about one every ten defensive possessions. Lynch shot 51 percent from the floor as a sophomore and his free throw percentage improved from 55 percent as a freshman to over 68 percent as a sophomore. He averaged 2.8 bocks a game as a freshman and the exact same as a sophomore.
Reggie fouls a lot. In fact he was the leader in the NCAAs at one point for fouls per minutes play (something like that, I can’t find the exact stat). He averaged 3.7 fouls in 22 minutes per game meaning he picked up a foul once every six minutes played. That comes out to a foul about once every seven or eight defensive possessions. Also, his shooting percentages dropped from 58 percent as a frosh to 51 percent as a sophomore and he only took 39 more shots (and played only 41 more minutes) so why the seven point drop we don’t know.
Focus on 16-17
Minnesota needs a defensive presence in the paint and as an underclassmen Reggie was one of the best in college basketball. The Big Ten is a different animal than the Valley but then again Reggie will be a different animal in November of 2016 than he was when he last played in March of 2015.
Through opportunity of travel I was able to watch more Reggie Lynch AAU games in the summer of 2012 than any other player that year and then I coached against him in three games meaning I saw those and scouted about four or five other games he’s played.
Add in the Illinois State games I’ve viewed and I can give you the definite pattern of what Reggie does. It goes like this: Lynch opens the game with two or three blocks or shots adjusted in the first ten possessions. Instantly teams stop penetrating to the front of the rim and start either pulling up for jumpers, taking wild low percentage shots on the move, or they reset when they see they can’t get an attack because Lynch is there staring at them.
Reggie then sits down due to foul trouble or a break and teams get excited and attack but then if not in foul trouble Lynch is back on the floor four mintues later and the “shots taken” chart has fewer near the rim.
How does this work? First off Reggie is long as they come. His length makes him appear bigger than his 6-foot-9 size and then you add in a pair of the biggest hands playing basketball today. Also, Reggie’s timing when blocking shots ranks with the best plus he’s really good at reading the play, helping over from his man, and stopping the attack. Lynch is also really good playing behind the opposing bigs and making them go over the top. He moves his feet better laterally inside than most true fives. Minnesota needs this in the worst way and Reggie will provide it.
What else does he do? Let me first say that his shot blocking presence is the biggest thing he brings. But Reggie is also a guy that is quick off his feet to finish and he will often try and dunk everything. Think a Trevor Mbakwe approach of trying to dunk everything with about 20 pounds of more power but not as explosive off his feet. Lynch also rebounds aggressively.
You don’t see that in his numbers at 5.4 a game because Reggie only plays 22 minutes a game on average due to fouls but he is a good rebounder. Lynch is an aggressive offensive rebounder and he loves to move on the backside and finish lobs and dump-offs.
The biggest question is what will he bring in the post. Based on our viewings last fall at the two Gopher scrimmages Lynch has taken significant steps with his low post footwork and touch. He made a high percentage of his attempts out of the post in both scrimmages and he was using his pivot better than he did in the past and doing a little bit more facing up.
He’s not Mo Walker at this time so don’t expect that but he is better with his back to the basket than what you saw from Bakary Konate last year (from what I have observed) and guys like Elliott Eliason from the past.
The last thing is, Reggie was a huge crowd favorite at Illinois State and at Edina High School. The crowd loves his free approach to the game and that is expected to be the case at Minnesota too. The Illinois State crowds printed shirts of Reggie’s face on them he was so beloved.
I would say Reggie as a fourth year player will play 24 minutes a game, average three blocks a game, score nine points a contest shooting 55 percent, grab six boards a night, and change the opposing thought process of the attacking defenders.