Rickert, Bennett and Rychart earn conference awards in men’s hoops

Minnesota’s men’s basketball team was well represented as the conference announced its players and teams of the year Tuesday.

Forward Rick Rickert made the All-Big Ten second team and was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading all freshmen in blocks, field goal percentage and scoring at 14.1 points-per-game.

“Coming into the season just the goals of the team were my goals,” Rickert said. “It’s a nice honor, in general, but the focus is on the team.”

Senior swingman Travarus Bennett was elected co-conference defensive player of the year. He shares the award with Indiana’s Dane Fife. Bennett led the Big Ten with 2.22 steals per game.

Rickert’s and Bennett’s honors mark the first time in school history a Gophers player has received either award.

Meanwhile, senior Dusty Rychart earned third-team All-Big Ten honors.

Coach Dan Monson said the selections went how they should with each of the top five conference teams each reserving one player on the first-team.

“To the victors go the spoils,” Monson said. “You should be represented because your team does well. If we would have won more, you could make a better case, but with us in sixth you can’t complain about it.”

Bennett was an honorable mention all-conference pick by the coaches.

-Brian Hall, Staff Reporter

Strother honored


Minnesota junior gymnast Clay Strother has been named Co- Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for his performance in meets versus No. 12 Nebraska, No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 11 Stanford. Ohio State’s Raj Bhavsar shares the award with Strother.

Against the Huskers, Strother finished first in the all-around, floor exercise, pommel horse, vault and parallel bar, pacing Minnesota’s second dual meet win of the season. Against top-ranked Oklahoma and No. 11 Stanford, Strother helped the Gophers to a strong second-place team finish, placing second on the floor, pommel horse, vault and parallel bars, and first in the all-around. The Jasper, Tex., native has won the all-around title in four of Minnesota’s six meets.

Strother, a two-time NCAA Champion, is currently ranked third in the nation in the all-around with an average score of 53.150. In addition, he is ranked second in the country on the parallel bars with an average of 9.000 and third on the pommel horse with an average of 9.450.

Gagner recognized


Sophomore Jay Gagner was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week for his outing versus No. 20 Alabama in the Hormel Foods Baseball Classic.

Gagner tossed the second complete game of his career, leading the Gophers over the Crimson Tide 5-2 on Saturday. The win ended Alabama’s school-record 14-game winning streak and gave Minnesota its much-needed first victory of the season.