Gophers Likely Eyeing Top Athletes At Saturday's Shootout

Chris Monter
Special to
College Basketball News


The Minnesota Timberwolves Shootout alumni includes 22 participants who have played in the NBA and hundred of college players. This year’s event includes three talented in-state performers who are ranked among the top 30 players in the country in the Class of 2014.

The three players, Tyus Jones of Apple Valley, Rashad Vaughn from Robbinsdale Cooper and Reid Travis of Minneapolis DeLaSalle, have attracted recruiting attention from many of the top programs, including the University of Minnesota.

The Gophers are off to one of their best starts in school history and are ranked No. 9 in the country after beating Big Ten conference rival Michigan State on Monday.

Minnesota has made the recruitment of the three juniors a top priority and with the Gophers having Saturday off, expect to see plenty of coach Tubby Smith and his assistant coaches at the Target Center. Many Gophers fans are likely to attend to get a glimpse of players that they are hoping to see in the future at Williams Arena.

Minnesota has had several former Timberwolves Shootout players on their roster, including current Gophers Rodney Williams, Andre Hollins, Joe Coleman and Wally Ellenson. They would love nothing more to receive a verbal commitment from any or all of the talented trio.

Jones is ranked as the number one player in the country by ESPN. The talented point guard who has been a starter since he was in eighth grade scored 89 points in his first three games this year. Jones played just five minutes, due to back spasms against Hopkins and has missed the team’s past three games. However, he is hoping to play this weekend.

Vaughn, who is ranked No. 10 by ESPN, showed off his scoring ability earlier this season by scoring 51 points against Marantha. He is averaging 28.7 points per game.

Travis is ranked No. 29 in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. He had 20 points and 18 rebounds in the Class AAA state title win over Minneapolis Washburn and had 57 points and 36 rebounds in the three games. Travis is off to an excellent start this season, scoring 30 points in all four games. The Islanders are ranked No. 1 in Class AAA.

Travis, who has already received a scholarship offer from Minnesota, added an offer from Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo earlier this week. He has over 20 basketball scholarship offers and the outstanding quarterback has a football offer from Boston College.

The trio of instate talented players have done nothing to hurt their reputations with their strong play this season and maybe nationally Minnesota might just be known for producing standout athletes in two winter sports.

Previews written and provided by Chris Monter of College Basketball News. Check College Basketball News for recaps of the Timberwolves Shootout or on Twitter @Collegebbnews.