The Gophers' best player will return next year, as will an altered supporting cast, but the program is also losing two players that were expected to contribute in different capacities next year.
KEY RETURNEES: Guard Vincent Grier
is the best player on the team. He led the team with an average of 17.9 ppg and is also a fine defensive player. Grier was the key to the Gopher turnaround this season is likely to be the center piece to next year's team. Dan Coleman
did a nice job as a freshman starter, averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rpg. However, Dan Monson
needs him to make significant progress in both areas next season.
THE COACH: Dan Monson appeared to be a man teetering on the edge at the end of last season. However, while the cupboard did not appear to be overly plentiful, the Gophers played way above expectations this year and finished with a 21-11 record. If Bruce Weber
had not had such a magical year with the Illini, Monson likely would have been the Big Ten coach of the year.
ROSTER REPORT: The Gophers gambled and won when they plucked Grier from the junior college ranks last year. A very creative player on the offensive end, he also made a name for himself with his fine defensive play. He cemented that reputation this season in the Big Ten.
Forward J'Son Stamper had several good games this season and Monson needs him to become more consistent. Stamper averaged 4.8 rebounds per game and he needs to step it up even more next year.
v Center Spencer Tollackson is a 275-pound bruiser. If he can improve his offensive output a bit — he averaged 3.2 ppg in 2004-05 — Minnesota could be a tough place to play in the Big Ten.
Center James Davis was expected to play for Minnesota next season after signing a letter of intent last November. However, Monson announced that Davis will not enroll at the university after he was recently charged with carrying a gun without a permit.
Forward Kerry Wooldridge said that he will transfer after appearing in only seven games as a redshirt freshman last season.