2005 Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Preview
2005 Minnesota Golden Gophers Team Preview
What seemed to work last year for Coach Dan Monson (88-70 in six years) was not the fact that he had a star player in junior college transfer Vincent Grier but that he garnered great value from average players such as center Jeff Hagen (11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG), guard/forward Brent Lawson (7.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG), and guard Aaron Richardson (8.4 PPG, 39.7 - 3PT%). Those three average Joes who had above average years are gone, leaving star guard/forward Grier. Can Monson do it again?
He’ll have to get career years from players who are relatively untested-- seniors who were redshirted last season and sophomores. One thing that would serve his quest to repeat or better last year’s 10-6 Big Ten record and 21-11 overall mark would be the implementation of a tough defensive scheme. Last season the Golden Gophers claimed one of the finest defenses in their league, which was a huge turnaround from the year before when they were one of the worst. The result was an NCAA Tournament berth in 2005; something they did not get in 2004.
As far as offense goes, the Gophers have Grier (17.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG) as their foundation. He is the one senior who brings a lot of experience and proven talent and skill. He’ll be joined by another senior, point guard Adam Boone who had an injury redshirt last season. Boone can be a capable player but with a year off and relatively erratic play throughout his college career, it’s difficult to say what he’ll be able to contribute. Senior Maurice Hargrow at guard/forward, a transferred from Arkansas who sat out last season, is another question mark. A few years ago he was throwing in 11.4 PPG, but does he still have the touch and stamina to play a full season?
Minnesota could go either way-- tough defensive squad with a hallmark player and contributions from everyone or a team with a standout shooting machine capable of scoring but incapable of stopping other teams from doing the same thing.
For Coach Monson this season will be an attempt to recreate the dynamic disciplined play of last year. If he can do that the Big Ten needs to watch out.
For more info on the 2005 Golden Gophers check out the official Minnesota athletic site.