Lost in the shuffle of all of the sports news flying around Minnesota this week, was a new recruiting commitment for Richard Pitino and the Minnesota Gophers Basketball Team. We can’t let the Gophers fly by the wayside, though. Although many expect the Gophers to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten this season AND many of us are still trying to transition from baseball to football…. let alone winter sports, the Gophers might be our best hope for Winter success, between the Wild, Wolves, and them…

On that depressing note, let’s get into Martice Mitchell! I bring you down just so I can lift you back up again.

This is a big signing for the Gophers and I love the way this kid plays the game. He’s the perfect fit for Richard Pitino’s high-low post game. He is listed as a Center but can stretch the floor and shoot the three-pointer, with what looks to be consistency (these are highlight videos remember). But, I’m even more impressed with his shot-blocking and moves in the paint, while watching these highlights. Tall kids who can shoot from the outside often lack the aggressiveness you would hope for, in other areas of a big’s game. Oftentimes (not always), they lack in rebounding, shot blocking, or offensive post play. Mitchell doesn’t look to have those issues, and that is at a VERY lean 190 pounds. I can already see a different human, after a couple more years and some time on a D1 college athlete meal plan.

Martice Mitchell is underrated, when it comes to the beloved star rating system, according to a lot of what I have read on him. After doing some digging of my own, I have to agree. It’ll be fun to follow his senior season from afar, to see if his upward trend continues.

The Martice Mitchell Commitment isn’t the only recruiting news I have for you this morning.

One of Richard Pitino’s most coveted recruits for a long time has been Jamal Mashburn Jr. Yes, that Jamal Mashburn Jr; the son of former NBA Star, Jamal Mashburn.

Jr. is a combo guard out of Miami, Florida and he is a consensus top-100 4-start recruit. He visited last weekend, then narrowed his list of possible teams to just the Gophers and Cal. Rumor has it, he is set to make his commitment later this week (specifically Thursday supposedly) and that the Gophers are STRONG favorites.

This would be a HUGE get for the Gophers and should make everyone sit a little bit more comfortably in their seats, as they watch the likes of Jaylen Suggs (probably), Dain Dainja, and Ben Carlson leave the state to go elsewhere.

Jamal can fucking ball and will play both guard positions in college, even at an undersized 6’0” – 6’2” (depending who you ask). How can you watch these clips and not think of Nate Mason? I’d bet my life on Richard using Nate Mason incessantly, when showing Jamal Mashburn Jr. how he would play him in our system.

And there was one big time uncommitted recruit out of Minnesota, that I didn’t include in the list of guys that aren’t staying here. Dawson Garcia is the lone hope for those who want to see MN kids stay in MN, and the chances of landing him are supposedly good. Pitino only has 2 scholarships left and Garcia is committed to visiting Indiana at the end of October. Hopefully Mashburn Jr. can fill one of those before Garcia stays home, to make this one of the best recruiting classes in Minnesota Gopher Basketball History.

What kind of MN kid wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Come on, Richard. Let’s seal these deals!

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan