Open Period Preview: Small Forward

The loss of Ahmad Gilbert means Minnesota will need to find a small forward for the future. Do the Gophers have candidates in mind? Of course!

The Offered 4 Star Talent.  Minnesota has three offers out to top 100 level talent at small forward and that is Isaiah Mucius, Sid Wilson, and Keyontae Johnson.

PSA Cardinals wing Isaiah Mucius, a 6-foot-8 small forward, is one of the hottest names in recruiting right now as he is rising up the recruiting rankings everywhere in the nation.  Minnesota offered him last summer joining the likes of Wake Forest, St. Johns, Oregon, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Virginia Tech.  Chris Mack of Xavier was just in to see Mucius this week.  The most recent report is that Rutgers, Oregon, and Wake Forest are making the biggest push for Isaiah.  Minnesota will see him in Virginia this weekend at the EYBL.

Six-foot-7 explosive Sidney Wilson has been on the Minnesota radar since day one of the Richard Pitino era.  The Gophers offered Wilson in the fall of 2014!  Since then Wilson has reclassified to the 2018 class and went to prep school at Brewster Academy.  Wilson played several years with future Gopher point guard Isaiah Washington in the New Heights program which is on the Under Armour circuit playing in New York City this weekend. The Wilson offer list includes Syracuse, Florida, UCONN, Louisville, Texas, and so many others.  Syracuse, Texas, and Florida are the most recent schools to come in and see Wilson. It’s been a long time since Wilson mentioned Minnesota but the connections keep him on our list.  Just in case.

Six-foot-5 versatile talent Keyontae Johnson is the player that Richard Pitino went to Florida to watch at the end of March.  Johnson plays at IMG Academy in Florida but is from Virginia.  Since Pitino was in to see him Johnson has also had Maryland, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and Virginia Tech in to see him plus Georgia Tech who Johnson also visited last week.  Johnson is wide open so I would expect Pitino to see him with Boo Williams this week in Virginia for EYBL play.

There is also a four star combo forward in the top 100 Minnesota has as it’s top target….

Race.  At his size Race Thompson will most likely play power forward because he is strong, 6-foot-8, quick off his feet to the glass, and should pick up right where Jordan Murphy and Eric Curry leave off.  Race can also play some small forward though as he has played point guard for both his high school and AAU teams in the past (Robbinsdale Armstrong and D1 Minnesota).  Not only can Race handle, but Thompson can also shoot with feet set at a solid rate.  I would expect to see him play both forward positions wherever he ends up (everyone wants to mention Iowa State seeing him this week on Twitter but Minnesota and Marquette have also been in to see him).  The Gophers will be watching him in Dallas this weekend.

Others.  New York area talent Khalid Moore is a name to watch as a rising prospect.  The Gophers have been in contact with Moore in the past as have offered schools Louisville, Syracuse, Miami, St. Johnson, and others. Moore will be in Virginia this weekend playing with the New York Rens in the EYBL….Another name to watch is 6-foot-7 Kamani Johnson of Atlanta and the Spring Stampede (an EYBL team Minnesota will watch in Virginia this weekend).  Johnson has offers from Memphis, UCF, and FGCU with interest from many programs.  The Gophers are one that have made calls on Kamani….Justin Winston is another 6-foot-7 three man that Minnesota offered this winter.  The NJ Playaz wing (also in Virginia this weekend in the EYBL) has the Gopher offer as well as Penn State, Rutgers, St. Joe’s, and Seton Hall.

Local.  After Race there is talent in Minnesota but that talent has a ways to go.  Goodnews Kpegeol of North St. Paul has played all backcourt positions and is likely more of a two but he could be a three as well.  Right now he projects at the low major level but he has strong potential.  Minnesota saw Michael Jones of Woodbury a couple times this year when watching them vs CDH (Oturu) and Jones had huge games.  Jones is a great shooter being looked at by mid-majors.  Also, Shae Mitchell of Lakeville South has the size and the agility so the potential is there.  If he could show some big games for D1 Minnesota when Matthew Hurt is sidelined he could jump on the radar of some teams.

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