The Scoops: Gophers still 'on the list' for top recruit Tyus Jones
When North Carolina's Roy Williams, Kentucky's John Calipari, Michigan State's Tom Izzo and other college basketball coaches text Apple Valley High School point guard Tyus Jones, it might take him longer than normal to return the message.
Jones underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. The injury occurred in June, but he taped it up and played throughout the summer. He got his stitches out on Monday and is now in a splint for four more weeks.
Jones, who has had a scholarship offer from the Gophers for a long time, will be on the "U" campus for the football game against Syracuse on Sept. 22.
Gophers coach Tubby Smith and director of operations Joe Esposito were at Apple Valley on Sunday to visit with Jones.
"I have a good relationship with them," Jones said. "They've been recruiting me since I've been in eighth grade. I have a good relationship with Coach Smith, Coach (Vince) Taylor, Coach Esposito and Coach (Ron) Jirsa.
"It's a possibility that I will attend the University of Minnesota. They wouldn't be on the list if I wasn't taking them seriously."
Asked if the Gophers' lack of a practice facility is a big deal, Jones said, "I have noticed it, but I don't know if that's something that would make me not go to a school.
"They practice on their home floor. That could be a plus."
The Twin Cities' 2014 basketball class will be one of the best of all-time. The Gophers also badly want Robbinsdale Cooper forward Rashad Vaughn.
Jones and have Vaughn have spoken about being a package deal.
"It's bound to come up when you're being recruited from the same state," Jones said. "We're good friends."
Another Gophers recruit, DeLaSalle forward Reid Travis, hasn't had the same talk with Jones. But Jones expects that to happen soon.
• Smith isn't the only coach who has been to Apple Valley in the past few days. Izzo, Calipari, Stanford's Johnny Dawkins and a Baylor assistant have been there, too. Williams will be in next Monday.
• Vaughn will be at the Gophers football game Saturday against Western Michigan. Somewhat surprisingly, Izzo was a no-show at Cooper's open gym on Sunday. Likely mutual, don't look for Vaughn in East Lansing anytime soon. Williams will also visit with Vaughn on Monday.
• Taylor has been recruiting this week in Chicago and Jirsa has been recruiting in Ohio.
• One internal concern for the Gophers this year: keeping agents and their recruiters far away from NBA prospects Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams.
• Timberwolves point guard Will Conroy has a partially guaranteed contract. He'll be at Target Center for informal workouts with teammates starting on Friday. Also in town right now: Chase Budinger, Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Nikola Pekovic, Malcolm Lee and Greg Stiemsma. Kevin Love arrives next week. Ricky Rubio was in town before heading to Vail to see his doctor about his repaired ACL. By the way, Conroy is best friends with Roy.
• Look for the Wolves and Fox Sports North to announce their new TV play-by-play choice in the very near future. Word is this gentleman is not based locally.
• In addition to Hassan Whiteside, Sean Williams is also on the Wolves radar. They plan on adding a big man before training camp opens on Oct. 2. Whiteside worked out this week for Miami.
• Free-agent big men Kenyon Martin and Mehmet Okur are not options currently for the Wolves. For now, neither will settle for the veteran's minimum, which is all the Wolves have to offer, barring a trade.
• Word from one source is that the new Wolves owner/ownership group has ties to California.
• All signs point to the Twins changing low Class-A affiliations from Beloit, Wis., to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An official announcement could come on Sept. 20. When checking with one Twins official, he was quick to remark talks can't even begin with Cedar Rapids until Sunday.
• Former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber helped call Western Michigan's 52-21 win over Eastern Illinois last Saturday. He emailed a scouting report on the Broncos: "Western is a very formidable opponent. They have the nation's passing leader from last year returning ... Alex Carder. They like to go 4/5 wides and throw the rock. Guys to watch on offense: WR #4 Jaime Wilson- fast/ great hands/ 2 TDs last week. WR #80 Daniel Braverman- another freshman who they label as their Wes Welker type. TE #85 Blake Hammond- 2 TD's last week, 5th year senior who didn't play a lot in the past but really stretched the field and gave them another dimension. Defensively, they run a 3-3-5 concept. They are not very big but they can run and hit. They like this setup because they feel they have a lot of athletes in the back-end and this enables them to get them on the field. #24 Lewis Toler and #34 Donald Celiscar are the best in the secondary. LBs #99 Paul Hazel and #3 Johnnie Simon are the best at their positions. Hazel is their best pass rusher and Simon is the most active player... 18 tackles in their first game."
• Expect more associate athletic director changes to come with the Gophers.
• Ex-Gophers and Broncos quarterback Adam Weber on his time in Tampa so far: "All is good down here. Nice win (over Carolina) for us. I have a lot to learn, but it's coming."
• Ex-Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams is keeping busy in Louisiana by coaching his son's football team. Williams will be at Mall of America Field for the Vikings game against San Francisco in Week 3. He still owns a home in the area.