Cory Joseph Spurns Minnesota, Chooses Texas

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cory joseph

By Mike Gallagher

This isn’t exactly what the Minnesota Gophers basketball team had in mind when picturing their offseason.

The number seven recruit in the nation according to Rivals, Findlay Prep’s Cory Joseph, has chosen Texas for his college basketball destination, passing on a chance to play with his brother and with childhood friend and recent Gopher signee Maurice Walker.

Instead Joseph will go to the Longhorns, who also signed Joseph’s prep school teammate Tristan Thompson, a 6’9” power forward and the number ten overall recruit in the nation according to ESPN U.

This is another in the long line of hits the Gophers have suffered this offseason, and at the moment it’s hard to picture them being a top half Big Ten team next year.

Paul Carter was the first player to jump ship in early April, leaving the team to attend to his sister in Chicago who has cancer and is going to need her lower right leg amputated in order to survive as chemotherapy has been unsuccessful, according to Myron Medcalf of the Star Tribune.  Carter has narrowed his choices of new schools to Depaul, Loyola, and the University of Chicago-Illinois.

Justin Cobbs is seriously considering leaving the Gophers as well, announcing his plans to leave in mid-April.  Although it didn’t look like a big loss, Cory Joseph’s decision would make it hurt a little bit more, as Cobbs knew the system and likely would’ve been the immediate backup to Al Nolen.  Cobbs decision is now a little tougher however and the program is hanging onto hope that he’ll stick around with playing time becoming more and more likely for the soon-to-be sophomore.  If he does not stay, it now looks as if Devoe Joseph will take over the backup point guard duty, which leaves the Gophers rather thin at the shooting guard spot, where Blake Hoffarber is expected to start and freshman Austin Hollins will be expected to serve as the backup.

The bright side of Cobbs presumed departure and Carter leaving is the opening of two more scholarships.  The Gophers were sitting on four, currently have five, and if Cobbs leaves they would have six.  Austin Hollins and Elliot Eliason already accounted for the first two when they signed in the fall, and the Gophers have gotten good news with the use of numbers three and four over the past two weeks.

Mo Walker’s choice of Minnesota took their third scholarship, and the ninth best center recruit in the nation will allow the Gophers to go big and perhaps mask the holes they currently have at the forward positions.  He is easily the best recruit in the Gophers class and will be regardless of who else Minnesota signs.

Oto Osenieks, a 6’8”, 205-pound power forward out of Brehm Prep in Carbondale, Ill. will be expected to help fill the void left by Paul Carter after signing a little over a week ago.  He takes the fourth scholarship and Osenieks, a native of Latvia, has the pedigree of an overseas big man and could be more of a three on the offensive end, as he is more of a perimeter big man.

The fifth remains open and the sixth would be open if Cobbs leaves.  Whether it is two or one, it remains somewhat of a mystery as to who they will go to.  If there were any thoughts that one would go to the enigma known as Royce White, according to the Star Tribune, a source close to Royce White says he “doesn’t want to be a ball player,” which should quell the talks of White in a Gophers uniform.

kevin noreen

One thought is that Kevin Noreen, Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball who was just released from his LOI from Boston College amid a coaching change at BC, is an interest of Smith’s.  Noreen is the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota history and at 6’10”, 217-pounds, could again address a major need at the four.  Noreen has decent range on his jumper and has bulked up considerably over the past year.  Noreen is a three star recruit according to Rivals, but a 92 on ESPN’s grading scale.
There will be plenty of speculation before the May 19th deadline for recruits to sign, and the picture will become clearer as we get closer to that date.

One thing that is for sure is the Gophers need for at least one more big name recruit.  With most of the elite talents already lapped up by big programs, Tubby Smith will have to make the last scholarship(s) he has count.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    I thought that once Tubby took over, these type of things wouldn’t happen anymore. The Gophs are legitimately going to have some holes next winter.

    As for Joseph’s decision to go to texas, they’ll still do the same thing Horns always do, look bigtime in the regular decision and then choke in the tourney. No matter where you have the Horns seeded, never pick them in your bracket

  2. Scabby Knees says

    (Quote) If there were any thoughts that one would go to the enigma known as Royce White, according to the Star Tribune, a source close to Royce White says he “doesn’t want to be a ball player,” which should quell the talks of White in a Gophers uniform.

    If the source doesn’t have a name, shouldn’t it say “a source WHO CLAIMS HE is close to Royce”? In which case “the talk of White in a Gophers uniform” should NOT be quelled. Anyone even remotely close to Royce wouldn’t make such a stupid comment. Not only does he want to be a ball-player, he wants to be a Gopher ball-player! Stop with the quelling, already!

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