Dan Monson hits BB recruiting trails hard

Gopher men's basketball coach Dan Monson will have a hectic travel schedule on Thursday as he will travel throughout the state to check in on three of the state's top underclassmen. Thursday is the first day that coaches can be back on the road. Monson and his coaching staff will also host four recruits this upcoming weekend.

Dan Monson will start the day by traveling to Bloomington Jefferson, the home of standout sophomore center Cole Aldrich, who is ranked #5 among the Class of 2007 by Theinsiders.com. He will make a stop at St. Thomas Academy where junior Bryce Webster plays. Monson will make another stop to travel to Braham, which has Isaiah Dahlman.

The Gophers are making a strong push on the top underclassmen in the state. The Minnesota Class of 2005 is not considered very strong and they will likely land only one senior, Brandon Smith, who committed to the program in August.

Smith will be one of four players to take his official visit to Minnesota this weekend.

James Davis, a 7-foot-0 center from Garden City (KS) CC, is considered by many to be the top JC big man in the country. He recently returned to Garden City (KS) CC after briefly transferring to Los Angeles Southwest (CA) CC. Davis emerged as a high Division I prospect as a senior after not playing basketball as a junior. He drew looks from schools like Iowa, Purdue, Louisville and Minnesota, but was forced to attend a JC, due to grades. Davis helped lead Minneapolis North to Minnesota's Class AAAA state title along with former Garden City teammate Kevin Henderson. Davis averaged 11.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game as a freshman.

Damian Johnson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Thibodaux (LA) High, is a sleeper who led his high school team to 2004 Louisiana High School regional playoffs before losing to Huntington. He shined this summer at the AAU National and Super Showcase in Orlando. Johnson is also considering Georgetown, Tulane, Texas A&M and Penn State.

Wesley Washington, a 6-foot-3 guard from Compton (CA) CC, is a familiar name to most Gopher fans. He signed with Minnesota in the fall of 2002, but questions surrounding his standardized test score caused the administration to deny his admission. He enrolled in classes at Yapavai (AZ) CC, but left after head coach Brooks Thompson became an assistant at Arizona State and will play at Compton (CA) CC this season. Washington was named second-team Best of the West by the Long Beach Press Telegram as a high school senior. He led Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei to a 35-2 mark as they finished the year ranked #3 by College Basketball News. Washington averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.0 steals per game on a balanced team that has seven Division I caliber recruits. He was named the California Interscholastic Federation Player of the Year as a junior and a senior and the Orange County Register Player of the Year as a senior.

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