Brandon Smith could be close to Big Ten decision

Brandon Smith, a 6-5 shooting guard/small forward from Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry, reportedly is close to making a verbal commitment to Minnesota. He had recently told College Basketball News his top three schools were Marquette, Oklahoma (where former Henry standouts Lawrence McKenzie and Johnnie Gilbert play) and Minnesota.

However, Marquette has landed three talented wing players, which has helped Minnesota's cause. Brandon Smith recently paced his high school team to the championship of the Minnesota Team Camp as his strong play attracted the attention of the Gopher coaches in attendance.

Smith, who is considered by many as the top senior-to-be in the state of Minnesota, averaged 16 points and five rebounds per game last season as the Patriots finished 21-8, losing to Armstrong in the Section 5AAAA finals after winning three straight state titles. He is an excellent student with a 3.8 GPA and plans to major in business in college. Smith played at the ABCD camp and is currently on the AAU circuit as a member of Team Minnesota.

Minnesota has never landed a player from Henry in the past and some wondered about the relationship between Henry head coach Larry McKenzie and the Gopher coaching staff past and present. However, some insiders have credited new Gopher assistant Jim Molinari with working hard to improve the lines of communication.

Smith would be the first Gopher verbal for the 20050-06 season.

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