Mike Ellis’ desk is littered with thank-you notes — each card representing a different athletics department ranging from California to Florida.
College basketball programs across the country have a reason to be thankful for Ellis, the Gophers’ executive associate athletics director.
In 2004, he founded Villa 7 — an event that allows Division I assistant coaches to network with athletics administrators. In the 10 years that followed, well over 100 men’s and women’s assistants from Villa 7 have gotten jobs as head coaches.
When Richard Pitino was introduced as the Gophers head men’s basketball coach on April 5, 2013, he was already at a disadvantage.
Pitino, then 30, was heralded as a tireless recruiter — which seemed perfect for Minnesota with highly touted local recruits Tyus Jones, Reid Travis and Rashad Vaughn all heading into their senior year of high school.
Jones and Vaughn were among the nation’s top 10 recruits, according to prominent basketball recruiting website Rivals.com, which ranked Travis at No. 44.
Flip Saunders hasn’t slipped on a University of Minnesota uniform since 1977, but he’s still having a major impact on the state’s basketball landscape.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Friday that Saunders, who has served as the franchise’s president of basketball operations since last season, will take to the sidelines to replace former head coach Rick Adelman, who retired in April. Saunders will remain president of basketball operations while coaching.
Flip Saunders hasn’t slipped on a Minnesota uniform since 1977, but he’s still having a major impact on the state’s basketball landscape.
The Minnesota Timberwolves announced Friday that Saunders, who served as the franchise’s president of basketball operations last season, will take to the sidelines to replace former head coach Rick Adelman.
Saunders will remain president of basketball operations while coaching. The Cleveland, Ohio, native is also a minority owner and will have to juggle multiple responsibilities.
Chris Clarke will likely return to Minnesota for an official visit soon.
Chris Clarke will likely be back for an official visit.
Not AP Article
When Gophers head coach Richard Pitino tells out-of-state recruits about Minnesota, the athletically gifted teenagers typically don’t know what to expect.
It’s cold. It’s mostly rural. The school’s arena is called “The Barn.”
But if one of the Gophers’ top targets pre-conceived notions about the North Star state, they were debunked after playing in the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League tournament in Eagan, Minn., last weekend.
Richard Pitino accentuated the importance of recruiting from the moment he stepped foot on campus.
The Gophers men’s head basketball coach punctuated his first season at the helm with an NIT title, but he knows future recruiting efforts are going to make the difference in the program turnaround.
“I think the one thing you do [as a head coach], 95 percent of the time, is you wake up and think about recruiting,” Pitino said before the season. “It’s the lifeblood of our program. I know the great coaches … have great players.”