Boone and Hargrow reconverge paths at Williams Arena

by C.J. Spang

For Minnesota men’s basketball seniors Adam Boone and Maurice Hargrow, the paths they traveled to reach this season have been winding, but those paths will merge again for one last season.

The journey began nearly 10 years ago when the two were in middle school.

Now, they will play one last season together for the 2005-2006 Gophers.

“When I was playing 13-and-under, I remember everybody was telling me about the 12-and-under team,” Boone said. “Every year coming up, Mo was a year younger than me; he was always the guy to watch.”

The two Twin Cities prep stars didn’t play together much, only in some open-gym situations and, eventually, the same 17-and-younger Amateur Athletic Union traveling team.

But their paths diverged after high school, as Boone went to North Carolina and Hargrow to Minnesota.

After his sophomore season, Boone transferred to Minnesota and the two played together for the Gophers in 2003-2004.

They went their separate ways again when Hargrow transferred to Arkansas but were reunited before last season when Hargrow came back to Minnesota.

Neither of the two played, however, as Boone sat out with a torn right bicep and Hargrow sat out because of NCAA transfer rules.

Even then, it wasn’t certain whether the two would play together again, because last season was Boone’s fifth and final year of eligibility.

So, after tearing his right bicep, Boone found himself at the mercy of the NCAA to get a sixth season of eligibility.

“I was just kind of hoping for the best but expecting the worst,” Boone said. “I was prepared for either decision.”

After applying for a medical redshirt, Boone was granted a rare sixth year of eligibility.

“It was just basically relief,” Boone said. “I didn’t hear till probably the middle of February, and by then, the season’s pretty much over if (the NCAA) says you can’t have it.”

While Hargrow’s season did not hinge on an NCAA ruling, the chance to play this season was just as exciting.

“It’s a big thrill to be back,” Hargrow said. “I’m just excited to be able to go back out there and put my jersey on again.”

And it will be even more gratifying when he puts that jersey on and shares his final season with his longtime friend, Boone.

It will be gratifying for the Gophers as well, especially if the two still have chemistry between them.

Boone and Hargrow said they believe they have something.

All those seasons playing together and watching each other have allowed them to gain a unique “feel” for each other.

“I think it’s more sort of a comfort level,” Hargrow said. “It’s certain little things you can’t really teach and you can’t really tell.”

That level of comfort was apparent at Friday’s intrasquad scrimmage at Williams Arena.

Boone and Hargrow showed off their chemistry as they scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Gold team to a 75-66 victory over Vincent Grier and the Maroon team.

But all that offense isn’t what coach Dan Monson is looking for.

Boone and Hargrow are the only two members left from the 2003-2004 squad that tied for 10th in the Big Ten and was considered an overly offense-minded team.

“I think what we gotta have with those two is coming in and learning how it didn’t work two years ago,” Monson said. “And seeing how it worked last year and integrating into that.”

If Boone and Hargrow can do that, they might be the trick up the Gophers’ sleeve.

“Like a secret weapon we can have,” Hargrow said. “But I think that surprise will be ruined after a couple of games.”

Tucker out indefinitely

Sophomore guard Rico Tucker will be out indefinitely because of his academic standing.

As far as the NCAA is concerned, Tucker is still eligible to play, but coach Monson has limited his practices and will not let Tucker play until he meets the team’s standards, he said.

Stamper to rest up

Senior forward J’Son Stamper will play limited minutes in Saturday’s exhibition opener against Southwest Minnesota State.

“J. Stamper has missed over a month of practice,” Monson said. “He’s practicing fairly well now, but we’re being very cautious because of his hamstrings.”