Tubby lands another big one as 6-foot-11-inch Sampson commits to Minnesota

Head coach Tubby Smith had been pursuing the center since his arrival.

Nick Gerhardt

The Minnesota men’s golf team will compete at the Callaway Match Play Championship on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 in Greensboro, Ga.

The Gophers will participate against Charlotte, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Florida State, UCLA, Georgia, Duke, Florida, Lamar, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia State and Coastal Carolina.

This will be the last tournament Minnesota will participate in for the fall season. The tournament is match play, which is something the Gophers have not seen this year.

“Playing in a match play tournament is always nice because it gives you a chance to just go out and have fun,” senior Clayton Rask said.

Nick Gerhardt

Trying to halt luck of the Irish
Recently, the waters haven’t treated Minnesota well when they face Norte Dame but tonight could prove different.

The Gophers rose to No. 9 in the College Swim Coaches Association of America poll after defeating Iowa last weekend. Minnesota has never ranked this high in the poll in school history.

Although happy with the recognition, co-head coach Terry Nieszner feels it’s a double-edged sword.

“It (the ranking) puts us in a position where everyone is going to try to knock us off,” she said.

The last two times the Gophers faced the No. 22 Fighting Irish they lost. But Notre Dame lost some important contributors from those squads and Minnesota has more depth than years past.

“It’s going to be a very well-matched meet but we’re a little deeper,” Nieszner said.

The Gophers’ strength lies in that depth as a big junior class has shouldered much of the load, but the underclassmen have started to ease that burden.

“A little bit of the pressure has been taken off since the sophomores and freshmen are contributing,” Nieszner said.

The meet is a women’s only meet and Nieszner said that will result in a very fast meet.

“It will be very quick and have a very different momentum,” she said.

Nick Gerhardt

Georgia native commits
Tubby Smith’s first recruiting class as head coach of the Minnesota men’s basketball team continues to get stronger.

On Thursday, Smith nabbed arguably his biggest target, literally and figuratively, when 6-foot-11-inch, 220-pound center Ralph Sampson III from Duluth, Ga., gave his oral commitment to the Gophers, according to Rivals.com.

The big man from Northview High School in Duluth, Ga., chose Minnesota over Georgia Tech and Clemson. Maryland and Kentucky had also been in strong pursuit of Sampson.

Sampson, who Smith had been heavily recruiting since the moment he took the Minnesota job last March, is rated the 15th best center in the nation by Rivals.

Those who questioned if Smith could recruit are starting to be questioned themselves.

Sampson, the son of former college and NBA standout Ralph Sampson, joins 2008-2009 junior college recruits Paul Carter and Devron Bostick and South Dakota power forward Colton Iverson.

Iverson and Sampson both came to Minneapolis in early September to tour the campus together. At that time, the two big men developed a strong bond, Iverson said.

Iverson said he is thrilled Sampson will be joining him on the Gophers frontcourt of the future.

“I’m really excited. I’ve been waiting to hear that for awhile. I knew he had been leaning towards (Minnesota). I’m really looking forward to playing with him,” he said. “Coach Smith gave us a hint that we could play a lot together.”

Many recruiting experts believe the Gophers current four-player recruiting class is ranked within the top 10 in the country. Iverson said he too has heard such rumors.

“That’s pretty flattering,” Iverson said. “I’ve heard that too. I’m pretty excited.”
Zach Eisendrath