After being hampered by an ankle injury for the second half of last season, Gophers guard Andre Hollins is finally back to full-strength.
Hollins is the latest subject of Amelia Rayno's Gopher basketball summer series. The Gopher guard started off the season scoring 16.2 points per game. His season took a turn for the worst when he injured his ankle in a win over Wisconsin. Hollins returned quickly from the injury, but was not completely healthy, according to assistant coach Dan McHale.
"I don't think people realized, I don't think we really realized -- because he's such such a good kid -- how much the injury affected him," McHale said. "I think it was evident a little bit with his game in the second part of the year, after the Wisconsin game. But he's the type of kid that puts the team first, guts it out."
Hollins managed to play through the injury for the rest of the season, including the Gophers run in the NIT. After a short break, Hollins went back to work rehabbing his hip, which had also been affected by the ankle injury.
Now that Hollins is healthy again, he is working on his explosiveness. McGuire said that after watching Hollins on the court, he is back to the player that scored 16 points a game in the first half of the season.
McGuire said Hollins is looking to have a bounceback season. The Gophers assistant said Hollins is now taking on more of a leadership role, and has a chip on his shoulder after being left off of all three All-Big Ten teams last season.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino held a surprise practice with the team last week. He described Hollins in his latest blog post as healthy and back in shape. Pitino also said he expects a breakout season from Hollins.
Hollins will return along with fellow backcourt partner DeAndre Mathieu. Starters Joey King and Elliot Eliason are also back for the defending NIT champions.