In retrospect, my first instinct was correct. When I first heard that Eric Curry tore his ACL midway through my 5th or 6th Grain Belt on the River Flats prior to the football team’s opener last fall, my initial instict was “Well shit, there goes the season.”
My thinking was simple (and in hindsight, not wrong): Reggie Lynch just can’t stay on the court, and Bakary Konate and Gaston Diedhiou simply aren’t good enough to play in the B1G. I was right, but not quite for exactly the reason I thought.
Remember, kids, fouls are not a measurement of one’s humanity (or lack thereof).
Despite the warranted catapulting of Lynch, the Gophers could have still been fine. The only other losses from last year’s NCAA Tournament team were SG Akeem Springs and Wing Ahmad Gilbert, and incoming FR guards Isaiah Washington (AKA the reason that irritating little shit Brad Davison only got a courtesy handjob of an offer from the Gophers) and Jamir Harris should be able to replace them. While Springs’ perimeter defense has been missed, Washington has been developing into an outstanding player and Harris has been showing flashes of brilliance. So we could just small-ball the hell out of everyone with Jordan Murphy being our “inside presence” while Nate Mason, Dupree McBrayer, Amir Coffey, another G/SF, and Murphy.
BUT what this team couldn’t handle would be more injuries. Losing Curry and Lynch was bad, but then things decided to pile up a bit. McBrayer and Coffey both decided this would be a good year to get hurt as well, and with this we were effectively fucked.
We’ve gotten blasted by very good teams (Purdue, Ohio State, and Michigan State), lost to good a good team (Nebrasketball), lost to mediocre teams (Maryland, Indiana, Michigan), and a bad team (Iowa). At least we beat Penn State?
But not even that will get all the blood out of the place from last night. Sparty got enough blood out of a Gopher to perform plenty of weird East German experiments, and the memory won’t be going away for a long time.
At least until we play Purdue on the 25th in West Lafayette.
There are only two redeeming qualities left for this season:
- That we get to watch Isaiah Washington continue to grow as he gets plenty of minutes, and
- We get a chance to have a slapfight with wisconsin that will allegedy be a basketball game (Allegedly, because wisconsin has never played basketball. Especially at kohl center.) and another shot against Iowa at Williams Arena.
I’m a bit worried about our chances in both of them and I’ll certainly miss Nate Mason next year, but we’ll be just fine going forward.
Curry, McBrayer, and Coffey will get healthy and be back next year. The recruiting class has the disgustingly-talented Daniel Oturu (#4 C in the class) from Cretin Derham-Hall in St. Paul along with two other MN kids in PF Jarvis Omersu and SG Gabe Kalscheur, and we’ve got a 7’ tall Louisville transfer/murderviking in Matz Stockman waiting to come in and provide size, depth, and 5 more fouls for the squad next year. Who knows, maybe we’ll have one more guy come in after the season if/when/if/definitely when Devonte Fitzgerald is strongly encouraged to find another place to exhaust his eligibility.
Unlike certain other teams in the B1G that are having a down year, reinforcements are on the way. This year looks to be a bit of a hiccup in the trajectory of the program, with one very major problem that we need to ensure never happens again.
No need to Gard against unrealistic expectations of a rebound any time soon with how things look in the immediate future.