Isaiah Ihnen, the top recruit in the Gophers’ 2019 class, was named Thursday to the German national team to play in the FIBA European U20 Championship this summer in Tel Aviv.
Ihnen was grateful for the selection, but he told the Star Tribune he might not play in the event scheduled for July 13-21. The 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward's top priority is to join the Gophers as soon as he can.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to play,” he said about the German U20 national team. “Rather go to campus earlier.”
Fellow incoming freshmen Tre’ Williams and Sam Freeman are expected to arrive in the Twin Cities around June 10 to get ready for summer school. Also joining them will be Drexel graduate transfer Alihan Demir, who will be a senior next season.
Figuring out when Ihnen will be back in the U.S. for college is a bit more complex. He'll remain in Germany training until the U’s compliance office gets his visa and final grades. That's standard procedure with foreign recruits. The Gophers are just hopeful the process goes smoothly.
“We’re huge in Germany,” Pitino joked this week. “He was someone where we scouted early. Really, really talented. I really believe if he were going to high school in the states he’s probably a top 50, top 75 recruit. We need a versatile wing. We got that. He’s somebody who is going to be a terrific player down the road. Loves basketball. High, High ceiling. So, we’re excited to get him on campus.”
Ihnen, a four-star prospect, was the No. 96th player in the final 2019 class ranking by 247Sports.com.
Pitino talked at the Gophers coaches caravan this week about still trying to add to his 2019 recruiting class, which ranks fourth in the Big Ten by 247Sports.com. Minnesota has one scholarship remaining for next season, but it could be two. Junior guard Amir Coffey has until next Wednesday's deadline to remove his name from the NBA draft. No decision has been made yet.
“From a recruiting standpoint, kids want to come in and play right away,” Pitino said. “So, when you have that uncertainty if a guy is coming or going … if Amir comes back, he’s obviously going to play a lot. So as a coach you’ve got to be patient. A lot of us are going through it. We’re not the only ones that are dealing with it right now.”
-- New Hampton School (N.H.) guard Mika Adams-Woods, who visited the Gophers a couple weeks ago, is looking for a program where he can play major minutes right away in the backcourt. He has an official visit scheduled for Cincinnati on Memorial Day weekend. A decision for the three-star fifth-year senior and New York native could come after that.
-- Pitino said Tuesday that redshirt sophomore big man Eric Curry would probably not be able to be cleared to play until the fall. That was to be expected for Curry, who had surgery in March to repair ligament damage in his foot. The 6-9 Memphis native also missed the first 12 games of the 2018-19 season after his second knee surgery. “We’re not going to rush anything,” Pitino said on Curry.
-- For the second straight summer current Gophers players will not be participating in the Twin Cities Pro Am, which will begin June 22 at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. It should still be an exciting league with former Gophers and local standouts from high school to the NBA.