Minnesota’s new coach Richard Pitino has landed his second recruit since taking the job with the addition of Deandre Mathieu.
Mathieu is a point guard who has spent the last two seasons at Central Arizona College, a junior college. He averaged 17 points, 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists this past season on his way to being named a national junior college All American, as well as Arizona Junior College Player of the Year.
Pitino was impressed by Mathieu’s showing, stating to Amelia Rayno of StarTribune, “He is an up-tempo point guard that does just about everything on the court, which was really evident in the numbers he put up last season. He is a great addition to our program.”
Nobody knows how much of an impact Mathieu will have in his first season as a Gopher. He joins both Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins, as well as Joe Coleman in Minnesota’s backcourt for next season, which could prevent Mathieu from having a large, immediate impact. The guard play will be Minnesota’s strength next season and Mathieu should provide depth there, regardless of how big of an impact he makes.
Nonetheless, this is a big move for Pitino in his initial recruiting class. The first guys that Pitino signs will be crucial in building a foundation for the future under the new coach’s image. These first few recruiting classes are huge for Pitino to get his own personnel into the program.
He will still be coaching a team made up primarily of Tubby Smith’s leftovers, but Mathieu will be one of his first impressions on the team, along with Daequon McNeil, the other incoming transfer.
Pitino is in the process of making this Minnesota team his own, and the signing of Mathieu is one of the first steps in doing so.