Head coach Dan Monson talks to GoldenSports.Net

Minnesota Gopher head basketball coach Dan Monson is entering his sixth season. The Gophers have yet to make the NCAA Tournament in his time with the program and some observers feel that he is in a must-win sitaution this year. However, despite that, Monson landed a strong recruiting class this past season and has already received four verbal commitments for next year. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Monson at the Big Ten media day in Chicago to discuss the upcoming season.

People are wondering about this team with so many new faces. Who have you've been impressed by so far among the newcomers?


"I've been really impressed with the new guys as a whole. One thing coming off probation that I have really realized is we were able to bring in a good player or two, but this is really the first good class that we've had since I've been here. One that I think is going to be, hopefully like this team, a sum of its parts. I'm very excited about our new guys. I think that Vincent Grier and J'son Stamper, two junior college kids, are going to contribute immediately. Spencer Tollackson and Rico Tucker will contribute as freshman this year. I think that Dan Coleman will come in as well. We've got five new faces who are going to have to step in and that is also our weakness, that we are going to be young and inexperienced, so it is going to take some time."


Injuries are a key for every team, but with Adam Boone out and Jeff Hagan bothered by plantar fasciitisand J'son Stamper missing the scrimmage due to an injury, is staying injury-free with all the new faces even more important than normal?


"I think so. It is a little scary, but we can't sit there and not not do things because we are worried about someone getting hurt. We've got a lot of work to do and we've got to move forward. We are up in Alaska against some of the best teams in the nation inside of a month. We've got to get going and get through it."


You've been known as a teacher of the game and you have a staff, especially with the addition of Jim Molinari, that are teachers. Is that even more important than ever with a team that has only three players who have ever even played a Big Ten game.


"I think so. It has been a real fun team to coach because there is so much coaching you are having to do. I think that we have really enjoyed the preseason with these guys, because, yes, there are a lot of new faces, but they have also been very coachable and working very hard."

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