Johnson expected to name his high school coach to U coaching staff

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune
·1 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson is expected to add Dave Thorson and Jason Kemp to his staff as assistant coaches, sources told the Star Tribune.

Johnson, who was hired last month to replace Richard Pitino, would be bringing back a familiar name to the Twin Cities. Thorson, a longtime DeLaSalle coach, spent the last three seasons on Colorado State's staff.

Thorson won a record nine state titles with the Islanders, including six in a row from 2012-17. At that point, he decided to get back into college coaching for the first time in 20 years.

The former Gophers assistant under Clem Haskins got his restart at Drake in 2017-18 with Niko Medved, who worked with him at Minnesota.

Thorson followed Medved to Colorado State three years ago and helped him turn around the Rams from 12 wins to back-to-back 20-win seasons the last two seasons, including a school-record 14 wins in the Mountain West Conference this year.

Thorson's connection with Johnson goes back to when he coached the former DeLaSalle standout guard in high school, which included state titles in 1998 and 1999.

Kemp, a Madison, Wis., native, spent the last two seasons at William & Mary, which included when the program went 21-11 and finished second in the Colonial Athletic Association in 2019-20.

One of Kemp's players already is headed to the Gophers. William & Mary guard Luke Loewe, who entered the transfer portal, committed to play for Johnson last week.

During his first 12 seasons as a college basketball assistant, Kemp worked at North Dakota State (2007-13, Toledo (2013-14) and Ohio (2014-19). He got his coaching start as an assistant at Minnesota State-Moorhead in 2005-06.