Monson signs another junior college player

by Mark Heller

Scholarships and money are being plucked away from Dan Monson by the University, but give him some credit. While the University and the basketball program is fed up with the NCAA’s dogged defiance and tortoise-like response to the academic fraud investigation, Monson is doing his best to sign future players.
So Travarus Bennett’s signing of a letter of intent to play for the Gophers is not only another victory in the face of nay-sayers, but the signing of a pretty good player.
“With limited scholarships, we don’t have the luxury of filling gaps,” Monson said. “So we try to get the best multi-dimensional players available.”
For example, the 6-foot-7, 205-pound Bennett from Southwest Missouri State-West Plains Junior College. He averaged 12 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for the eighth-ranked Grizzlies in NJCAA. He also led his team in steals, shot 49 percent from the field and 30 percent from behind the arc.
With his size and athleticism, Monson envisions Bennett playing a few different positions. Bennett’s dimensions parallel those of Mike Bauer, whom the Gophers redshirted after an ankle injury early last season.
“He’s not quite as good an athlete as Mike,” said Monson. “But he gives us an odd matchup offensively and he can hold his own defensively.
“He’s not one-dimensional.”
Which is good, because the season-ending injury of John-Blair Bickerstaff and the sudden exit of Joel Przybilla created a lot of offensive problems, particularly inside.
Multi-dimensions mean power, and Bennett and Bauer can add dimensions. Until the future becomes the present, it’s for no one to see.
Said Monson: “They have to play their way into (the starting lineup) and those things, starting October 15.”