Seniors shine in hoops scrimmage

by Todd Zolecki

Only one thing embarrassed Clem Haskins about the Gophers men’s basketball scrimmage Saturday — the spelling on some of his players’ new uniforms.
Minnesota’s duds, designed by Champion, had Miles Tarver’s and Kyle Sanden’s names misspelled on the back of their jerseys. Tarver’s came out “Traver” and Sanden’s read “Sander.”
“So much for the new jerseys,” Haskins said.
But the Gophers’ coach quickly overlooked the poor spelling. His team, in front of a few thousand fans at Williams Arena, showcased a little of what’s to come this season. And for the most part, Haskins liked what he saw.
The gold team, led by Bobby Jackson, defeated the maroon team, paced by John Thomas, 89-79.
But while the jerseys made Haskins roll his eyes, an injury to Sanden in the second half drew a concerned look on his face. Sanden, a freshman, hasn’t been healthy since practice started two weeks ago.
He left with 8:17 remaining in the game. The forward caught an elbow in the head while he was in the paint and fell to the floor. He remained almost motionless for several minutes before Gophers trainer Roger Schipper escorted him to the Gophers training room.
The freshman had missed most of the team’s practices after suffering a concussion on the first day of practice. Haskins said he thinks Sanden will be OK.
Besides Sanden, several of the Gophers’ big men took hard drops to the floor. That has Haskins concerned. Injuries to key players last season hurt the Gophers’ ability to get familiar with one another.
“The only problem we’ll have is staying healthy,” Haskins said. “We’ve had some injuries already to a few people. If we can avoid any kind of major injury, and keep them all on the court every day, we have a chance to have a special ball club.”
Jackson finished the game with 21 points. The senior shooting guard, who became the Gophers’ play-maker toward the end of last season, looked like he is going to continue where he left off in March.
“He’s one of the finest athletes in America,” Haskins said. “He doesn’t have any one position (that he’s suited for). He’s a very good basketball player. He has great speed, great quickness.”
Haskins was also happy with Quincy Lewis, saying again that he is the team’s best overall player. But Haskins was complimentary to all of his players.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “They competed hard and they were very aggressive. We made some mistakes, but overall the decision-making was pretty good.”

Leading scorers: John Thomas, 23; Bobby Jackson, 21; Eric Harris, 20; Courtney James, 19; Quincy Lewis, 15; Sam Jacobson, 12.
Leading rebounders: Miles Tarver, 10; John Thomas and Courtney James, 7; Quincy Lewis, 6.