Gopher fans get their first look at the basketball team tomorrow when they hold a scrimmage at Williams Arena. Today the Focus Series turns to the rotation which is something for GI fans to think of when they see tomorrow’s scrimmage.
Sure Things. Jordan Murphy and Nate Mason. Barring injury or some major setback these two are a sure thing to start at point guard and power forward respectively. As along as they are healthy and out of foul trouble I would expect about 32-33 minutes a night from Mason and about a 29-30 minute average for Murphy.
Likely. Akeem Springs has been heralded for his leadership skills this fall and assuming he plays within his role and doesn’t try to play like a senior star it’s quite likely that he will play a lot at the shooting guard spot and maybe as a three. Reggie Lynch will be the starting center as long as he is fully recovered from his latest injury. Akeem seems like a 28 minute per game on average guy while we will say 24-25 minutes per game for Reggie because it will vary depending on his foul issues and how much he plays right away as he recovers from injury. Reggie didn’t play in last Friday’s scrimmage in front of alumni.
Last Spot/6th Man. If Reggie doesn’t start it will likely be Bakary Konate or maybe Eric Curry. If Springs doesn’t start it will be Dupree McBrayer of Amir Coffey. Coffey and McBrayer are the players we expect to be the fifth starter and right now we lean towards Coffey because of his length and skill plus it may be best to have McBrayer come off the bench fresh to handle the ball when Mason needs a rest. McBrayer will also spell Springs and play a lot with Mason. I would guess about 24 a night for Coffey, 25-26 for Dupree.
First Reserves. Eric Curry and Bakary Konate will be the guys backing up Murphy and Lynch respectively and when they come in depends on when foul prone Murphy and Lynch either get their first foul or two, or when they need their regular first break. Does Pitino go with Curry first when Reggie has to sit meaning Curry and Murphy together in a bit of a smaller line-up? Do they go with Konate right away when Reggie sits? Likely depends on the opposition. You can expect Konate and Curry to join McBrayer (or Coffey) as the first three off the bench. I saw Bakary plays 16-17 minutes a night, Curry plays about 21.
Later Reserves. How deep will Pitino go this year? First that depends on who is healthy. If all are healthy than you have four more guys. Because this depend is void of shooters I think Michael Hurt comes off the bench and plays 12 minutes a contest. And with foul trouble and injuries I think Gaston plays someplace between 4-9 minutes a need depending on need. That leaves Stephon Sharp who has been working at the one and on the wing this year as well as Ahmad Gilbert who started 6 games a year ago. I will say a four minute average for Sharp and eight minute average for Gilbert. Pitino may give all the reserve minutes to one guy so maybe the minutes stated for these players (not including Gaston) will go to one guy.
Fact Check. I picked those minutes blindly. There are 200 a game to give out. My guesses have a range total from227 a night to 237 so I’m over. That said I don’t expect the staff to go past nine or ten guys on average so you can subtract the minutes of Sharp and Gaston and of course injuries and foul trouble will change things night to night.
Scout Team. Who is on the scout team? Assuming everybody is healthy besides Davonte Fitzgerald I would say that they will have Darin Haugh at point guard, Brady Rudrud and Stephon Sharp as wings, Gaston Diedhiou playing scout center, and then whomever is out of the rotation potentially on the wing. That is assuming they do a scout team like I recall when I was around college basketball practices.