Gophers look to build on winning start with new and veteran players

first_imgGuard Nate Mason is a returning starter from last season. Mason said this team has more talent than last year.“Deeper, longer at every position,” Mason said. “And just our mindset is completely different from the first two years I’ve been here. You can tell everyone on the team wants to win and wants to do everything they can do to make us win.” Mason averaged 13.8 points per game last season, which was the most on the team. He was also named a captain for 2016.Mason was a big player in the team’s opening win with 15 points, two rebounds and seven assists.“I told Nate, ‘I don’t know why, and not that you’re disrespected, but in my opinion you should believe you’re one of the best point guards in the conference,’” Pitino said. “’You are a junior, you’re experienced, you were playing really well at the end of last year. You went at Michigan, had 20 something points.’ I remember him playing really, really good.” Forward Jordan Murphy was tied for second on the team in scoring last season and tallied six points in Minnesota’s first game. “I think [Murphy] is a matchup issue,” Pitino said. “I think he produces, obviously with all the double-doubles he had last year. He was an All-Freshman player.”Minnesota started last season with a 5-5 record through the first ten games. Springs said a bad year can either break a team or make it better.“I think everybody feels that we need to win now,” Springs said. Gophers look to build on winning start with new and veteran playersNate Mason played the most minutes in Friday’s win, while transfer Akeem Springs and freshman Amir Coffey also spent a great deal of time on the court. Daily File PhotoGopher forward Jordan Murphy handles the ball Saturday, Jan. 23 at Williams Arena where the Gophers were defeated 71-76 in overtime. Jack WhiteNovember 14, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintThe Gophers will be looking for a fresh start from last season.Minnesota began on the right foot with an 84-76 win against the University of Louisiana-Lafayette Friday, and several new transfer students made their debuts and showed what they can do. Center Reggie Lynch is eligible after sitting out a year due to transfer rules, and Lynch contributed 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Guard Akeem Springs transferred this year and played immediately. Springs was named a captain after playing for the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee last season and had 11 points and three three-pointers.“[Springs] will play a lot at whatever role it may be,” said head coach Richard Pitino. “He’s a really good leader … [Springs] has come in and made his imprint from a leadership standpoint.”Springs averaged 13.2 points per game last season for UW Milwaukee. He also scored 15 points in the Panthers’ victory over the Gophers last season.Springs said he understands the mindset of a mid-major team because he played for one.“I’ll definitely be in these guy’s ears, just let them know ‘no, they’re coming out, they’re coming with everything they’ve got,’ cause if they can beat Minnesota from the Big Ten I mean it could be a big thing for them,” Springs said.Freshman Amir Coffey committed to Minnesota in the offseason. Coffey was a four-star recruit out of high school via ESPN. Pitino said Coffey will earn big minutes during his first year.“He’s as good as advertised in my opinion,” Pitino said. “Obviously a terrific passer, I think we all knew that. A really good competitor. I think he’s one of the better freshman in the league in my opinion.”Coffey already impressed in his first game with 13 points and 27 minutes of playing time.last_img

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