Staff Directory 388384352

Marcus Fuller

Reporter | Gophers basketball
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Marcus Fuller covers Gophers men's basketball and college basketball for the Star Tribune. He has 13 years of experience covering Twin Cities college and professional sports. 


Fuller joined the Star Tribune in 2016 after 11 years covering Gophers sports – and just about every other team and league in town -- for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Before making the Twin Cities his home, he spent two years in The Kansas City Star sports department. Fuller grew up in Hawaii and is a 2002 graduate of San Jose State.
Recent content from Marcus Fuller
Gophers volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon

Gophers volleyball team back to practice, waiting for Big Ten update

The Gophers reached the Final Four in 2019.
Gophers forward Jarvis Omersa (21) talked with head coach Richard Pitino at the end of last season’s win against Penn State.

D-I basketball has new start date, too: Nov. 25

The NCAA's Division I Council approved the new start date at Wednesday's meeting, pushing season back two weeks from the original plan.
The University of Minnesota’s Athletes Village

Gophers athletes will have day off from sports Nov. 3 so they can vote

The NCAA has encouraged schools to clear sports from athletes' schedules that day, allowing them to vote.
An empty TCF Bank Stadium, home of the Gophers

U regents squash resolution calling for quick Big Ten sports restart

The resolution, proposed by Regent Michael Hsu, met heavy resistance largely along procedural lines with several regents saying they didn't have time to review it.
Linebacker Jermaine Johnson (11) recorded only 20 tackles last season, his first at Georgia after transferring from junior college.

From 'Last Chance' to big chance for Jermaine Johnson at Georgia

Eden Prairie's Jermaine Johnson is not only playing this fall, but he could be starting for a top-five program.
Liam Robbins competed with Drake through the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in March.

Transfer Robbins gains NCAA clearance to play for U this season

Liam Robbins, a 7-foot center, transferred to Minnesota after two strong seasons at Drake. He finally heard the news Wednesday he had been waiting for all summer.
Men's basketball coach Abe Woldeslassie, volleyball coach Sarah Graves, and athletic director Donnie Brooks, at Macalester College in St Paul.

Minn. colleges make progress hiring coaches, administrators of color, but much is left to do

Macalester is the only state college or university with more than one Black head coach — with two. Those already holding such positions are making it a mission to provide more opportunities for candidates of color to pursue.
The University of Minnesota athletic department on Tuesday provided its first COVID-19 testing update in two months.

Gophers announce 43 positive COVID-19 results among 1,406 tests

The Gophers' announced test results show a 3.1% positivity rate, down from 4.1% on June 30.
Lute Olson coached Arizona to the 2001 Final Four at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Hall of Fame basketball coach Lute Olson dies at age 85

Olson played for Augsburg and got his coaching start in Minnesota before long stops at Iowa and Arizona.
Marcus Carr handled the ball during a 2019 practice as he was defended by Gabe Kalscheur

This much is certain about Gophers basketball: It'll be a new look

Not knowing what to expect this college basketball season during the pandemic, Gophers coach Richard Pitino made summer practice less demanding on players than in years past.
Minnesota coach Richard Pitino shouts instructions to his players during second-half action of an NCAA college basketball game against Penn State, Sat

Pitino isn't giving up yet on playing nonconference games

The full Gophers men's schedule hasn't been released. But according to a data obtained by the Star Tribune, there are contracts for nine nonconference games.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino said of the upcoming season: “I think there is still very much a push to be able to pull it off. … I think we want to

Pros are proving the bubble can work; is college basketball next?

Bubbles could save the sport known for bursting bubbles on Selection Sunday. But how would the NCAA tournament work if not all 353 Division I teams played a full schedule?
Caledonia’s Eli King (with ball) is sought after by college coaches in basketball and football.

Fleck and Pitino both have eyes on Caledonia two-sport star King

Caledonia junior Eli King is on the radar of Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck and basketball coach Richard Pitino.
Richard Pitino will gather the Gophers men's basketball team for its first official summer practice Monday

Gophers men's basketball has first summer practice Monday

Richard Pitino and his assistants will finally get to see (mostly) what their revamped roster for the 2020-21 season looks like in person.
St Thomas men's basketball coach John Tauer and women's coach Ruth Sinn stepped out for the first time onto the newly unveiled basketball court.

St. Thomas basketball coaches see chance to succeed after 'unprecedented leap'

The Tommies won't be eligible for the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments for five years yet the programs are in prime position to taste early success after the jump from Division III.
Carleton College’s football team, facing St. Thomas here, won’t play this fall.

Carleton College becomes latest Division III school to cancel fall sports

The school cited concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, including the recent national spike.
Tyler Johnson caught a touchdown pass during a nonconference game against Georgia Southern last season.

Big Ten cancels nonconference fall sports, warns of more moves ahead

"We may not have a college football season in the Big Ten," conference Commissioner Kevin Warren said, adding that Thursday's move was intended to create a better chance to play some games.
Gophers forward Sampo Ranta is still at home in his native Finland after finishing his spring semester online.

U president tries calming foreign athletes: 'We stand with our international students'

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel e-mailed her faculty, students and staff Tuesday to address any fears, reminding them of the university's plan for a hybrid model of online and in-person classes this fall.
Tamin Lipsey spun a ball on his finger while listening to coach Jay Fuhrmann during a D1 Minnesota practice.

AAU basketball stars weigh risk/reward of recruiting exposure in COVID-19 era

D1 Minnesota and others are filled with college prospects once again, as games finally resume. But it looks markedly different with restrictions surrounding the coronavirus.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino

Gophers men's basketball team slowly assembles

During the pandemic, only a handful of players are present on campus. They're working out on their own, waiting for the rest of the roster to arrive.
Rachel Banham got a hug from her father Don Banham Jr. after playing in her final game for the University of Minnesota in 2016.

From family of cops, Lynx' Banham wants to be bridge to community

Law enforcement runs strong in Rachel Banham's family. So strong that she has tattoos on her right arm of the badge numbers of her father, mother and late grandfather.
Ishmael El-Amin (5) played high school basketball at Hopkins.

Ex-Hopkins star El-Amin leading protest tonight at Ball State

The son of former Minneapolis North and UConn star Khalid El-Amin has become a leading activist on the Indiana school's campus.
Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino

Pitino: Coaches must be 'upfront and honest' about race with players

More than anything, Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino understands from talking to his players since George Floyd's death that they want to do something of substance and value to make change.
Town Hall: Reeve, Pitino, Falvey discuss Floyd's death, ensuing unrest

Town Hall: Reeve, Pitino, Falvey discuss Floyd's death, ensuing unrest

The death of George Floyd was discussed during a Strib Live virtual town hall featuring Lynx GM/coach Cheryl Reeve, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and Gophers basketball coach Richard Pitino.
Gophers defensive back Coney Durr, his teammates and other teams are scheduled to start practice in late July, giving them up to six weeks to prepare

'Uncharted territory.' Minnesota football forecast cloudy for more than Gophers

The pandemic has this state's Division II and III programs scrambling for answers, just like the Gophers.
Liam Robbins, left, went for a basket against Illinois State in March.

Robbins eyeing big role for U basketball but needs transfer waiver

The NCAA Division I Council maintained its earlier stance not to pass a one-time transfer rule. Liam Robbins and other non-graduate transfers have to sit out the 2020-21 season, unless they have waivers
Don Yates (left), Lou Hudson (center) and Archie Clark (right) were three of the Gophers’ promising sophomores heading into the 1963-64 season.

Gophers' first black scholarship basketball players included a hidden gem

Archie Clark was one of the first black players to get a basketball scholarship from the U. He blossomed into an NBA point guard following a standout career with the Gophers in baseball, too.
Alexandria native Treyton Thompson became the first Minnesotan to commit to Richard Pitino and the Gophers as a high school junior since former Cretin

For Gophers recruit Thompson, home state had major appeal

The next Minnesota basketball standout with plans to stay home and play for the Gophers spent this high school season hundreds of miles away attending prep school.
BJ Greenlee has decided to transfer after one year with the Gophers.

Gophers guard Greenlee will transfer to new program

BJ Greenlee, a former three-star recruit and standout for The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla., is the second guard to transfer from Minnesota this spring.
Rice transfer Drew Peterson resembles former Gophers star Amir Coffey’s all-around game and size, as a big guard with the ability to shoot from deep

Pitino's latest Gophers recruit — Rice transfer Peterson — changes his mind

The Gophers men's basketball team's newest recruit, Rice transfer Drew Peterson, announced Friday he was reopening his recruitment after committing to Richard Pitino earlier in the week.
Liam Robbins, left, and Drew Peterson

NCAA unlikely to alter transfer rule; two incoming Gophers affected

Like other coaches who were recruiting Liam Robbins and Drew Peterson this spring, Richard Pitino was willing to gamble. But the one-time transfer rule for immediate eligibility is unlikely to pass.
Dave Winfield is congratulated by University of Minnesota baseball coach Dick Siebert in 1970.

Four pro drafts in three sports 'no big deal' for St. Paul's Winfield

In addition to being drafted by the San Diego Padres, Gophers baseball star Dave Winfield was drafted by the Vikings as well as by teams in the NBA and American Basketball Associations.
Rice transfer Drew Peterson resembles former Gophers star Amir Coffey’s all-around game and size, as a big guard with the ability to shoot from deep

Rice transfer Peterson picks Gophers, completing Pitino's class

Drew Peterson, a 6-8 guard from Illinois, averaged 11.1 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a sophomore for the Owls. He is the third transfer to join the Gophers this offseason.
Hopkins guard Kerwin Walton (12) was expected to announce his college choice Saturday, but had yet to reveal a decision as of Sunday night

Gophers still waiting as Walton puts off announcing college choice

The mystery surrounding the recruitment of one of the nation's top unsigned seniors continues. The Hopkins star was expected to announce his choice over the weekend.
The X Games played out over four days in Minneapolis last August.

Summer X Games canceled, costing Minneapolis another major event

The X Games joins the NCAA Wrestling Championships and the World Cup cross-country skiing race as major sporting events Minneapolis has lost during the pandemic.
Minnehaha’s Chet Holmgren is the No. 1-ranked junior nationally and can see why the G League could be an option for some.

G League becoming prep stars' alternative to college basketball

Jalen Green's unprecedented move to bypass college, one that could pay him more than half a million dollars, could have ripple effects on the future of basketball recruits nationally — and maybe in Minnesota.
Zack Raabe is following in the footsteps of his father, Brian, who also played for the Gophers before a brief MLB career that included a stint with th

Batting .463, U's Raabe was among nation's elite when season canceled

Gophers sophomore Zach Raabe was one of the hottest hitters in college baseball when the coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of spring sports last month.
Brandon Johnson

U gets power forward transfer from Western Michigan; Willis leaves

On a busy day of changes for the Gophers men's basketball team, Richard Pitino landed one potential new starter Thursday and saw a starter from 2019-20 leave the program.
Richard Pitino found the big man he was looking for to replace Daniel Oturu with Drake 7-footer Liam Robbins (21) announcing his commitment Sunday to

Gophers land 7-foot center Robbins from Drake

A day after announcing his transfer from Drake after two seasons, the 7-foot, 240-pound Robbins said Sunday night that he would join the Gophers.
Virginia assistant coach Brad Soderberg flashed a smile as he walked into the Marquette Hotel following last year’s title game.

A win for Dad: Virginia assistant Soderberg relished chance to coach '19 Final Four

Brad Soderberg will never forget what it was like celebrating Virginia's NCAA men's basketball championship — and a year of redemption — last April surrounded by loved ones, including his late father.
Baylor’s Freddie Gillespie (33) blocks a shot by Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr. (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game i

Minnesota talent ready to make unprecedented impact in NBA draft

Daniel Oturu, Tre Jones, Zeke Nnaji and others. College basketball players from Minnesota made names for themselves throughout the nation in bigger numbers than ever before.
Daniel Oturu and Amir Coffey during the 2018-19 season. Oturu has declared for the NBA draft after Coffey, now with the Los Angeles Clippers, did the

Added options create more uncertainty than ever for U's NBA draft hopefuls

Daniel Oturu and Amir Coffey, who went undrafted last year, might not have left college early five years ago. And Marcus Carr wouldn't have considered declaring for the draft. But things are different now.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr (left) declared for the NBA draft Monday.

Surprise move: Gophers' point guard Carr declares for NBA draft

Carr told the Gophers' coaching staff that he wants to return to Minnesota next season, but he hopes to put himself on the NBA's radar right now, according to sources.
A strong Gophers volleyball recruiting class includes, clockwise from top left: Taylor Landfair, Melani Shaffmaster,Cami Appiani and Jenna Wenaas.

Gophers coach McCutcheon impressed by freshman volleyballers

Gophers are adding some unique talent to a team coming off a Final Four season.
Clippers rookie guard Amir Coffey attempted to guard Rockets star James Harden — the 2018 NBA MVP — during an October preseason game in Honolulu.

Former Gophers standout Coffey gains NBA foothold with Clippers

There's no telling when the NBA season will continue, but Amir Coffey's journey is off to an exciting start after he left the U with one year of eligibility remaining.
RENÉE JONES SCHNEIDER • renee.jones@startribune.com
Gophers coach Richard Pitino spent two seasons molding Cretin-Derham Hall grad Daniel Oturu.

With Oturu leaving, confident Pitino shares challenges ahead for U

Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino spoke confidently about the direction of the program, one day after Daniel Oturu's decision to declare for the NBA Draft.
Gophers sophomore center Daniel Oturu had decided to declare for the NBA draft

Time to move up: U's Oturu declares for NBA draft

NBA scouts attending his games this season saw how Daniel Oturu had improved between his first and second years with the Gophers. Underclassmen declaring for the draft have until June 3 to change their minds.
Gophers center Daniel Oturu reacted after scoring against Indiana at Williams Arena in February.

Gophers' Oturu declares for NBA draft

Sophomore center and Cretin-Derham Hall grad Daniel Oturu could become the first Gophers player drafted since Kris Humphries in 2004.
With sophomore center Daniel Oturu likely headed to the NBA, the Gophers are checking on possible transfers to fill his spot.

Pitino, Gophers study transfer market for a big man

The ever-expanding transfer portal could add to the 2020 class this spring, but it will be a challenge for the Gophers to add the depth and talent their frontcourt needs.
A view of the March Madness logo inside the Dayton Arena. The coronavirus outbreak abruptly ended the NCAA sports season, including the men's and wome

One simulated moment: How March Madness would have played out

Kansas vs. who for the title? The Minnesotans we'll miss seeing? Great underdog stories? College basketball writer Marcus Fuller has a guide to the tournament that didn't happen.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi and his legion of fans had no NCAA tournament bracket to scrutinize Sunday.

A life without Madness: Selection Sunday silent for ESPN's 'Joey Brackets'

Joe Lunardi was at a hotel Thursday near the ESPN studios sipping coffee and fiddling with his final NCAA tournament projections when word came that the NCAA was canceling the men's basketball tournament.
Gophers senior Amber Fiser is among those who could get an extra year of eligibility.

NCAA plans to restore a year of eligibility for athletes impacted by cancellations

Prominent basketball coaches across the country, including Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Kentucky's John Calipari are in favor of wanting the NCAA to give seniors an extra year.
Minnesota's Daniel Oturu reacts during the second half against Northwestern at the Big Ten tournament. Was it his final game for the Gophers?

Hope snuffed out: Pitino's Gophers wanted one last shot at strong finish

Before the Gophers could board the bus to the arena on Thursday, Big Ten officials were shooing Michigan and Rutgers players off the court. End of tournament. End of hope.
Northwestern’s Pete Nance looked to drive on Gophers forward Isaiah Ihnen during the first half of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament first-r

Gophers overcome halftime deficit, crush Northwestern

Sophomore center Daniel Oturu led the rally from a two-point halftime deficit with 24 points.
Iowa center Luka Garza, the Big Ten Player of the Year, will face Gophers center Daniel Oturu for the third time this season in the Big Ten tournament

Empty arena coming up for Gophers, but they'll take same approach

Junior Payton Willis said it would be like playing in a closed scrimmage before the season, but with "more on the line."
Daniel Oturu is averaging 20 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this season.

Passed over: U's Oturu doesn't get spot on All-Big Ten first team

Daniel Oturu is among the nation's most productive players with averages of 20 points and 11 rebounds per game. But the Gophers' losing record likely played a role in the voting.
Gophers guard Tre' Williams attempted a three-pointer over Nebraska guard Haanif Cheatham in the second half of Minnesota's 107-75 victory at Williams

U smashes Nebraska, celebrates Senior Day with record batch of threes

Led by eight three-pointers from Gabe Kalscheur, the Gophers broke the school's single-game record in crushing Nebraska 107-75 at The Barn.
Gophers forward Michael Hurt had five points and a career-high seven assists in 20 minutes against Nebraska on Sunday, but his biggest assist came aft

Pitino on Hurt: 'The classiest kid I've coached'

Following an impressive send-off for his seniors in Sunday's 107-75 win against Nebraska, coach Richard Pitino made sure to thank co-captain Michael Hurt for the loyalty and leadership he gave to the program.
Gophers center Daniel Oturu (above) leads the Big Ten in rebounding (11.6), field goal percentage (.562) and blocked shots (2.5) and is second in scor

Limited engagement: Oturu likely playing final home game Sunday

Daniel Oturu, the Gophers' 6-10, 240-pound sophomore center brimming with NBA potential, is almost certainly leaving after this season, according to several sources.
Indiana guard Rob Phinisee pushes through the Gophers' Daniel Oturu to make a lay-up on Wednesday at Assembly Hall.

Another second-half slide sinks Gophers; Pitino ponders Oturu's future

The 72-67 loss at Indiana locked Minnesota into the 12th seed at next week's Big Ten tournament. Afterward, coach Richard Pitino was more certain of his own return for next season than that of star Daniel Oturu.
Minnesota's Isaiah Ihnen grabs a defensive rebound against Wisconsin's Micah Potter

Freshman Ihnen helping Gophers after adjustment to U.S. basketball

Isaiah Ihnen, a 6-9 German native hampered by injuries and getting used to a more physical game earlier in the season, played his best overall game at Wisconsin on Sunday.
Gophers senior captain Michael Hurt reacted at the end of Wednesday’s loss to Maryland, when his team let a 17-point lead slip away in part because

Gophers' foul shooting has been foul of late

In the past five games, the Gophers have shot a dismal 56.3% from the foul line (49-for-87). Not surprisingly, they have a 1-4 record during that stretch, including three home losses.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino, right, argued a call with official Mike Eades during the second half of Wisconsin's 71-69 victory in Madison on Sunday.

Gophers lead in final minute, but fall to Wisconsin

A combined 47 points from Daniel Oturu and Marcus Carr brought the Gophers back from a 12-point deficit, but the Badgers prevailed on their home court.
Richard Pitino had his team poised for a victory over Maryland on Wednesday, but in the end the game turned into another in a string of devastating ho

Old wounds haven't healed for Gophers men's basketball program

In the years since the Gophers basketball academic scandal, Dan Monson lasted seven-plus seasons, Tubby Smith stayed for six, and now Richard Pitino is deep into his seventh year, with his future uncertain.
Gophers players could not conceal their disappointment after a last-second loss to Maryland

Barn collapse: Gophers lose 17-point lead, Maryland wins on late 3-pointer

This is the first time since the 2017-18 season that the Gophers have lost three consecutive home games, games in which Richard Pitino's team was badly outplayed in the final minutes.
Ohio State's C.J. Walker, center, Minnesota's Gabe Kalscheur, left, and Marcus Carr chase a loose ball during the first half in January.

Pitino relying on young Gophers players when he'd rather not

Northwestern, Nebraska and Minnesota are at the bottom of the Big Ten. They also are the three teams getting the least production from their junior and senior classes.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr drove to the basket past Northwestern forward Miller Kopp (10) and center Ryan Young during the first half in Evanston, Ill.

NCAA hopes? Pitino says 'season is not over' after U crushes Wildcats

The Gophers, desperate to get their confidence back after humbling back-to-back home losses to Iowa and Indiana, smashed Northwestern by 26 points.
Gophers forward Isaiah Ihnen (35, shown against Iowa) didn't play at Northwestern on Sunday because of an injured wrist.

Gophers forward Ihnen misses game because of wrist injury

Minnesota got several contributions inside from reserves in its victory over Northwestern.
Gophers head coach Richard Pitino

Pitino, Collins both hitting road bumps in Year 7

Three years ago, Richard Pitino and Chris Collins were two of the hottest young college basketball coaches in the country. Their struggles to win consistently since have caused the script to flip.
Daniel Oturu of the Gophers dunked during a game against Oklahoma earlier this season.

Land of 10,000 Big Men? Minnesota centers making impact near and far

When it comes to producing talented big men for the basketball court, the state of Minnesota has long been a hotbed. But this could be the golden era of talent in the post.
Gophers center Daniel Oturu posted up Hoosiers forward De'Ron Davis in the first half at Williams Arena on Wednesday night.

Cold shooting, lethargic finish doom Gophers in loss to Indiana

Missed shots snowballed into lackluster defense as well down the stretch, causing many fans to lose interest and leave early as the Gophers' NCAA tournament hopes took another big hit.
Gophers guard Marcus Carr drove to the basket on Hawkeyes forward Cordell Pemsl (35) on Sunday at Williams Arena. When Carr scores 12 or fewer points,

Another 'Coffey run': Can Marcus Carr rescue U's playoff hopes?

What the Gophers need now is a player who can hoist this team on his back for a stirring stretch run, the way Amir Coffey did after Minnesota went through a rough patch last year.
Sophomore Gabe Kalscheur said of the Gophers’ situation: “We know we only have so many games left.”

Time of the essence: Gophers aim to boost NCAA portfolio, beginning vs. Iowa

The Gophers are not among the 11 Big Ten teams currently projected to make the NCAA tournament, but they believe they know the magic number of wins to get there: four or five more. First up is Sunday at home vs. Iowa.
Luka Garza didn’t have his best game against Daniel Oturu on Dec. 9, but he didn’t need to, as Iowa still beat the Gophers 72-52 in Iowa City.

Gophers vs. Iowa brings Oturu vs. Garza Round II

Come Sunday, Daniel Oturu matches up against Luka Garza for the second time.
Gophers center Daniel Oturu is averaging 36.6 minutes per game in Big Ten play.

Gophers get break from grind before Sunday showdown with Iowa

The Gophers played more Big Ten games in January than any other team in the conference, and finally have a break before Sunday's game. "It's a grind when you're playing that many games," Richard Pitino said.