The Gophers men’s basketball team announced the signing of a top junior college point guard to a national letter of intent.
Kerwin Fleming, a 6-foot-3 guard from Kennedy-King Junior College in Chicago, can play either the point or the off-guard position. He averaged 16.2 points, 9.1 assists and 3.4 steals per game last season and led his team to a fourth-place finish at the National Junior College tournament last season.
The Sporting News considers Fleming the top floor-general in the junior college ranks this season, while the Basketball News has him ranked second calling him, “unheralded out of high school. He emerges in juco-land as a big, rangy, highly coveted point man.”
Minnesota coach Dan Monson said Fleming fits into the team’s up-tempo style and is a proven winner. Monson said he likes the fact Fleming will come in with some college experience under his belt.
“Hopefully, he’ll be more ready to play than a freshman,” Monson said. “We’re excited because we think he’s multidimensional. He can play both the point guard and the off-guard.”
Fleming played point guard last season Monson said, but switched to off guard this year. The new coach said he thinks Fleming has good size for a point guard, but said his shooting touch from the perimeter is his top strength.
Monson credits assistant coach Derek Thomas, who was at St. Louis University last season, for helping land Fleming. On Thomas’ suggestion, Monson said he watched him play in the beginning of September, which was the end of the summer recruiting period.
Fleming’s signing fills the only scholarship the team had available for next season, Monson said, “assuming everybody returns.”
There has been talk that sophomore center Joel Przybilla could leave school early and enter the NBA draft. Przybilla said he won’t make a decision until the season is over.
Clark comes back
Former Gopher Kevin Clark was at Wednesday’s exhibition win over a Mexican all-star team. He said he tried out with some CBA teams but said he has soured on basketball since he was suspended from the NCAA tournament last March because of the academic fraud allegations.
“After college, I don’t want to say I gave up on basketball, but it was pretty tough on me and it still is,” he said.
Clark said it was weird seeing Monson and his staff on the bench where former coach Clem Haskins sat for 13 years. Clark is trying to get back into school for the spring semester to continue toward his degree in kinesiology.
From the perimeter
ù Monson said the URAL Great team the Gophers will play Monday night, is arriving in the country today. The team will play Montana State tonight, and Wyoming on Saturday.
“They’ll just get through customs and we’ll play them,” Monson joked.
Michael Dougherty covers basketball and football and welcomes comments at [email protected]