With Davonte Fitzgerald receiving a sixth year of eligibility that means Minnesota has four scholarships to give in the 2018 class. One belongs to committed Daniel Oturu from Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Where will the other three go? It’s tough to just pinpoint by position any more considering the Golden Gophers are recruiting so many versatile talents. Take Oturu for example.
Daniel is listed as a center, plays like a center, is 6-foot-9/6-foot-10 like a center, and when he adds the expected core strength muscle to his frame he will be even more of a center. But Daniel is agile, moves his feet well laterally, is improving as a face-up shooter, and therefore could be a four man at times.
The Gophers are also looking at several combo guards that have the ability to play both guard spots and then you have forwards Race Thompson and Joshua LeBlanc who are physical athletes but also skilled. They could play both forward spots at times.
So what are the Gophers looking for position wise? Again, it’s complicated. I would say they will take another frontcourt player with Oturu but if it’s not Thompson or LeBlanc it could be a center who is raw but has potential or it could be Jake Forrester. A true point guard? That is Tre Jones. The Gophers will take Tre no matter what they have already committed if he wants to play for his hometown team.
Therefore this class could be Tre, a combo guard, a wing, and Oturu. It could be a combo guard, a wing, Oturu, and a center, or it could be a combo, a wing, a forward, and Oturu. They are essentially going after Tre, Oturu, a combo, a wing, Race, a center, and a forward with their four scholarships. That is seven different types (with four to give) and you can bet that they will take any combination of that group with a limit of two frontcourt guys.
With that as the lead in, here are the current ten guys that we have on our Hot Board entering the summer in the 2018 class.
One. Daniel Oturu. Daniel is the second highest rated recruit that Minnesota has landed in the past nine years (Amir Coffey being the highest, Royce White in 2009 setting the bar). He’s the 41st ranked player in the 2018 class overall and a player that Minnesota can build their future around.
Two. Race Thompson. Thompson is a legacy recruit with his father being one of the greatest football players of all time. He’s also a guy that Minnesota has been going after since day one and a versatile talent that can play inside and out. Indiana and Iowa State seem to be the biggest competition.
Three. Tre Jones. After watching Tre’s older brother Tyus Jones keep Minnesota on the list nicely for a long time it’s tough for fans to buy into his younger brother Tre having strong interest in the Gophers. But Tre took an unofficial to Minnesota some weeks back that went extremely well and hopes continue to climb that Tre may want to stay home. Arizona just landed a lead guard, Duke is courting another point guard strongly, and there Minnesota sits with Baylor, Oregon, and UCLA. So you’re saying there’s a chance? Yes. And it’s a stronger chance than we thought Minnesota would have. But how strong is it? That’s the unknown.
Four. Gabe Kalscheur. Change that, it’s Four Star Gabe Kalscheur now. Fans keep looking at the offer list of Minnesota and Pitt as the lone high majors and letting that make their mind up. That’s too bad as Gabe is a three time state champion, he has the right size needed at shooting guard, his defense has improved, his EYBL numbers are outstanding, and when you compare resumes to Brad Davison at this time last year they are quite similar (Brad didn’t have the state titles but handles the ball better). How so? Both had great springs shooting the ball with Tre Jones feeding them shots on the wing. Both had two high major offers entering the summer. Both are 6-foot-3/6-foot-4, both entered four star status on Scout.com at the same point in their careers, and both are Pulley Panthers. No they aren’t same style of players but there are career similarities.
Five. Eric Hunter. The fact that Eric is visiting this month means that the interest is there. Out of state visitors in June have a good track record at either committing to Minnesota or looking strongly at the program. Hunter has teams like Purdue, Xavier, Nebraska, Butler, and others recruiting him hard so it will be a tough battle for the Gophers. That said Minnesota has been following Eric consistently and he will be here June 17th.
Six. AJ Green. AJ may not be coming to Minnesota soon for a visit but you can expect one will be in the works in the future. He’s been by campus for two football games, a couple basketball games, and another visit. He’s been on campus about as much as many of the recruits that live in the Twin Cities. AJ is the type of shooter that Minnesota needs and they will have to battle Clemson, Iowa State, Nebraska, and Northern Iowa (where AJ’s father coaches) for his services.
Seven. Keyontae Johnson. Johnson told GI this spring that he was planning a Minnesota visit this June. There has been no clear answer when that visit will occur or if it’s still in the plans but Johnson is the explosive type of small forward that the Gophers like. Georgia Tech, Pitt, Providence, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest are the competition. We expect Johnson to continue to be a priority. Remember, Johnson was one of the few guys that Minnesota never missed playing this past spring.
Eight. Jeenathan Williams. Another explosive small forward that the Gophers are tracking closely. Williams is this year’s New York area talent to watch although this time it’s Rochester, New York. It may not be NYC but the usual suspects are still going against Minnesota for Williams: Syracuse, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Providence, Marquette, and Virginia Tech plus others.
Nine. Jared Butler, Marcus Zegarowski, Brendan Adams. The list of combo guards continues. Butler was the most recent offer, Adams was offered over the winter, and Zegarowski is a shooter who had a great spring. All can play point guard but all can be playmakers off the ball. And all of them are talents that Minnesota is currently recruiting and will continue to recruit along with Green and Hunter as combos.
Ten. Jake Forrester and Joshua LeBlanc. These are the other frontcourt prospects Minnesota is looking at in case they miss on Thompson. Forrester is an explosive four man who is very long and bouncy. LeBlanc is listed as a four man in some places, a three man in other places. What he is exactly will be decided at a later date but either way this is a productive talent that is ranked by Scout.com as the 66th ranked player in the nation. Teams like LSU, Texas A&M. Cincinnati, and Georgetown are also after LeBlanc. Forrester is a raw talent that has numerous high major programs after him.
Other: Brady Heiman. Brady does not have a Gopher offer or a high major offer yet but his size, length, and agility have the look of a guy that is likely to earn a high major offer at some point. Brady is a guy that will need some work mostly because he is thin and needs to add weight. He’s a perfect redshirt candidate as he’s willing to do that and understands his need to add core strength. When you look at Minnesota’s need for future center depth and the fact that Minnesota has had him on campus, Heiman could be the perfect fit for future center depth.