Gophers basketball lands top recruit

Minnesota’s men’s basketball team landed a prized recruit Monday, when Minneapolis Henry senior Brandon Smith verbally committed to the Gophers.

The 17-year-old small forward said he chose Minnesota over Oklahoma and Marquette.

“I felt this is a great program, a program I want to be a part of,” Smith said. “Hometown school – you can’t beat that,” Smith said.

Smith said he thinks he will be able to contribute to the program as a freshman.

“A lot of seniors are going to leave by 2005, so I feel I can come in right away and play,” Smith said.

The 6-foot-6-inch, 200-pound Smith said he plans to add 10 pounds of muscle before the season starts.

He said he is working out every day with his high school coach and plans to work out with former Gophers and NBA player Trent Tucker next week.

Smith said he wants to major in business at the Carlson School of Management and stay in school for four years.

Smith is the first recruit to commit to the Gophers for 2005.

McCarville honored

Janel McCarville, Minnesota’s women’s basketball team’s senior center, was named to the Women’s Wooden Preseason All-America Team last Friday.

McCarville is one of only three returning WBCA Kodak All-Americans on the 30-player list. Lousiana State’s Simon Augustus and Tennessee’s Shyra Ely were the other two All-Americans.

Purdue’s Katie Gearlds and Penn States’ Tanisha Wright were the only two other players selected from the Big Ten.

McCarville averaged 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game last season and helped the Gophers reach the NCAA Final Four for the first time.