I leave for the big Canada trip Thursday morning with Bogart, Dawger, and Bear so I won't get a chance to talk at you for quite a while. I'll leave a few parting thoughts here and then hopefully TRE can put up a couple of posts while I'm gone.
- At one point it seemed like the Gophers had a strong shot at landing Memphis transfer Tarik Black, but once again when the big boys come calling the Gophers have little shot as Black has decided to enroll at Kansas, who also just signed the #1 player in the class of 2013 in Andrew Wiggins, called the best pro prospect since LeBron, and have gone from lots of question marks to a pretty loaded squad. There are still a handful of interesting big man options out there (Juco and/or transfers) with the most likely to become a Gopher still Rakeem Buckles (no clue what exactly the hold up on this one seems to be) and man somebody better be coming. Not that anybody is a difference maker at this point, but of the four big guys (yes, only four) the only one you can relatively sure you can rely on is Eliason. I personally think Oto will have a big year and a definite Buggs fan, but so many question marks. Might as well make the lane at Williams look like the Riddler's suit at this point.
- Sometimes I'm wrong about things. Not often, but sometimes. Roy Hibbert is one of those times. You know how completely worthless Hasheem Thabeet has been, even getting bounced down to the D-League? I figured Hibbert would be right there with him. I should have known better with him coming out of Georgetown who, outside of Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, never miss on centers, but I thought he was doomed to failure. This year he nearly averaged a double-double while finishing fourth in blocked shots (also Tim Duncan finished third. Guy's immortal. Immortally boring, but immortal). So Roy, and Georgetown, I'm sorry for doubting. And now that I've apologized and admitted my error, it's clear I am the better man here.
- Sam Deduno is back. Again. After an outstanding World Baseball Classic (3 starts, 0.69 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 17 K vs. 5 BB, team won the whole thing) some Deduno related buzz was generated that maybe he had figured things out. Unfortunately fans would have to wait as Deduno didn't make his minor league debut until early May thanks to an injury suffered at the WBC. So who is Deduno this year? The 28 year old rookie of last year with the 57/55 K-to-Walk ratio? Or the WBC hero?
It's really tough to tell so far with just 3 minor league starts under his belt. Deduno has made the K/BB ratio a bit more manageable at 17/10 with his last start the best going 6 innings and striking out 8 while walking just two. Of course, he also gave four earned runs in that one compared to just one earned in his prior to starts which encompassed eleven innings, when, of course, he struck out 9 while walking 8. He's almost impossible to figure out. I think it boils down to a guy who has decent stuff but little command. He'll have games where he'll shut teams down like he did last year, and he'll have games where he doesn't get out of the third inning like he did last year. Is he worth more of a shot than P.J. Walters or Cole DeVries in this spot? I don't know, but the correct answer is Kyle Gibson, who, in case you missed it, has thrown complete game shutouts with 8 Ks and 2 walks in two of his last three outings for the Rochester Red Wings. He's coming. I don't know when the arbitration clock kicks on or kicks off or whatever it is, but he better be up the day after it happens.
- Lastly, for those knocking the Pitino hire because he's only had one year of head coaching experience and is now in a major conference:
Billy Donovan: previous head coaching experience before Florida - 2 years at Marshall
Jim Boeheim: previous head coaching experience before Syracuse - NONE
Roy Williams: previous head coaching experience before Kansas - NONE
Tom Izzo: previous head coaching experience before Michigan State - NONE
Brad Stevens: previous head coaching experience before Butler - NONE
That's a pretty good list. People are morons.
- And with that, I'm out for a while. Wish me luck - mostly that I catch a lot of big fish, but also that I don't die in the wilderness.