After early success under Ben Johnson, Gophers must fight human nature – Twin Cities


Gophers males’s basketball coach Ben Johnson wrote three phrases on the board throughout a crew assembly Wednesday: “Competitor” and “human nature.” It arrange a protracted discuss.

Minnesota has stared 3-0 in Johnson’s first season and gained the Asheville Championship with victories over Western Kentucky and Princeton final weekend. While nobody is claiming a banner ought to be raised at Williams Arena over the early achievement, it might be a chance to get slightly complacent.

Johnson wished to maintain his crew from feeling too good about themselves this week.

“It can go two ways,” he stated in a information convention Thursday. “You can fall in the human nature trap of being happy, being content, being satisfied. Or, you can be a true competitor and you want more.”

After the incomes U’s first match title for the reason that Vancouver Showcase in 2018, Johnson needs his crew to return out hungry for extra when Minnesota (3-0) faces Purdue Fort Wayne (2-0) at 6 p.m. Friday at The Barn. So, within the crew assembly, Johnson requested gamers to call the most important rivals they knew of. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Steph Curry and Simone Biles have been a few of the names that got here up.

“I thought it was a great point to bring up for us on our situation right now,” stated guard Luke Loewe, who has 10 help and one turnover in three video games. “It’s easy sometimes to get complacent when things are going well, and that is what we have to try to stay away from. (It’s about) just having the will to win and get better every day and continue to compete.”

Johnson is working to ascertain his requirements, and brining dwelling a trophy helps underscore the messages he’s attempting to ship.

“You want guys to have confidence in what we are doing, and (have) that early buy-in with me, with my staff, with our system, with each other,” he stated. “When you can have early success and they can feel that it’s working, that they can feel themselves getting better, it’s always a good thing.”

Each of the three wins bought shut within the second half — Missouri-Kansas City on Nov. 9; Western Kentucky final Friday and Princeton on Sunday — however Minnesota overcame adversity to grind out wins. That included an 87-80, double-overtime victory over Princeton.

Payton Willis and Jamison Battle have been the early go-to scorers; every is averaging 20 factors a sport. Johnson stated one among his major takeaways from the season’s begin was the gamers’ protection, particularly in getting ready for the various types of Western Kentucky and Princeton with solely in the future in between video games.

“We had two different scouting reports and they were able to, with our coverages, do both on a quick prep — and that is something that is not easy to do,” Johnson stated “So, our mental aptitude to be retain information and go be able to execute, it was really high. So, we are now able to do different things defensively that I didn’t know if we would be able to do. Now we are going to hold them to that.”

Guard Sean Sutherlin, who has offered 22 of the U’s 25 bench factors this season, stated his early impression has been how a brand new crew has been capable of transfer the ball on offense and play good crew protection.

“Just playing together as a team,” he stated.

While there have been major messages about well-known rivals and combating human nature, Johnson additionally harassed one thing else: He doesn’t consider the Gophers are near taking part in their finest basketball.