Richard Pitino and his Golden Gopher basketball program introduced his first recruiting class Wednesday afternoon at Williams Arena. Josh Martin, Nate Mason and Carlos Morris have signed National Letters of Intent and will join the team for the 2014-2015 season.
"All three fill specific needs that we wanted to address when losing guys like Mav (Ahanmisi), Austin (Hollins) and Malik (Smith)," Pitino said. "I think all three bring different things to the table and so we're excited about them."
Martin is a 6-foot-8 forward from Bothell, Washington that currently plays the power forward, but would like to move into the small forward role with the Gophers, a role that Pitino believes will suit him well with his perimiter game.
Mason, is a 6-1 guard from Decatur, Georgia who chose the Gophers over Kansas State and Virginia. Pitino said, he is quick, can shoot the basketball and will be able to play multiple positions.
Morris, is a 6-5 guard who will join the Gophers as a junior college transfer. Morris was a four-star recruit out of high school and committed to South Carolina before settling in at Chipola College in Florida. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at Minnesota.
With Reid Travis selecting Stanford, and Tyus Jones making his decision later this week (likely to be Duke or Kansas), the fact is that Pitino and his staff are marketing and selling an unknown product.
"I was just talking with Shaka Smart on the way over here and his recruiting is going so well because he went to a Final Four," Pitino said. "He got the VCU job as an unproven, young head coach and so it takes a little time. To get the first class when you haven't coached a game is difficult because you can't really reference back to a lot. The greatest recruiting tool is going to be what we do this year and in the future as well."