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Minnesota Basketball Recruiting: Gopher Hoops Adds Texas A&M Transfer Davonte Fitzgerald

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

OK...NOW we can say that the Gophers are done recruiting for the 2015 class.  After Jonathan Nwankwo was released from his scholarship the Gopher staff had another scholarship to play with in this recruiting cycle (or the option of holding it for next year).  And the staff has decided to fill that vacant scholarship with a transfer.

Who Is He?

Meet Davonte Fitzgerald, a sophomore transfer from Texas A&M.

Height: 6-7
Weight: 210
Pos: SF

As a high school player out of Georgia, Fitzgerald was a promising forward with scoring punch and athletic ability. He had offers from Clemson, Florida St, Georgia, Miss, Oregon St and others.  His ESPN Insider eval...

Fitzgerald is a long and athletic Division 1 wing. The ultra-bouncy Fitzgerald can slash his way to the rim in transition or knock down 3-point shot. He has a solid looking jump shot (gets great lift), but it's streaky. He plays with good energy and has active hands at both ends of the floor. He can fill the lane after causing a steal and he has the length and bounce to finish above the rim.

At A&M Fitzgerald had a promising freshman season averaging nearly 16 minutes and just over 7 points per game before tearing his ACL in February of 2014.  His sophomore season was not as productive averaging under 10 minutes and about 3 points per game.

But the Gophers are getting an athletic forward who can fill up the stat sheet.  Coming into the season our friends at Good Bull Hunting were looking forward to Fitzgerald being a key player for the Aggies and one of their main scorers.

I'll go against the grain here and pick Davonte Fitzgerald to finish the season as the leading scorer. It could very likely be Jalen Jones, but Fitzgerald is a special type of player that could completely explode on to the national scene at any time.

And this...

He was instant offense for the 2nd unit before last year's ACL injury, and like Jones he won't be asked to carry the load by himself. I think this leads to a more efficient, more well-rounded sophomore season for Fitz.

Seems like Pitino and staff has secured a nice wing with some potential to be a real scoring punch.  He had the ACL tear in February of 2014 and was then playing on it by November.  He certainly wasn't the same as a sophomore so maybe a full year to rebuild strength and confidence will allow him to hit the floor running in 2016-17 where he'll make a significant impact along with Reggie Lynch.

Looking WAY Ahead

So as we look ahead, things are going to be rather interesting for the 2016-17 season.  This coming fall we will have six true freshmen getting acclimated to Big Ten basketball.  After they get a year to acclimate to the Pitino system and the Big Ten, then we will add to impactful transfers who will be playing as juniors in Lynch and Fitzgerald.  I would not be shocked at all to see those two step into starting roles immediately.  In two years, we just might have a pretty talented and entertaining team to watch.

Now, when it comes to recruiting we have just one available scholarship for the 2016 class.  One would assume that it is Amir Coffey's to take and we will all be thrilled to add a player of his caliber to the roster.  After Coffey, the staff is certainly going hard after Quentin Goodin, a four-star point guard from Kentucky.  With just one scholarship and a solid nine months to fill it, I expect the staff will do their best to make sure it is a high-caliber and high-impact kid who will sign.

For those of you curious, here is the most recent scholarship grid for the Golden Gophers.

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19
SR Joey King PF X - - -
SR Carlos Morris SF X - - -
JR Charles Buggs PF X X - -
SO Reggie Lynch C X X X -
SO Davonte Fitzgerald SF X X X -
SO Nate Mason PG X X X -
SO Gaston Diedhou C/PF X X X -
SO Bakary Konate C X X X -
FR Kevin Dorsey PG X X X X
FR Jarvis Johnson G X X X X
FR Dupree McBrayer SG X X X X
FR Ahmed Gilbert SF X X X X
FR Jordan Murphy SF X X X X
Verb Michael Hurt SF - X X X
Scholarships 13 12 11 7
Available per Yr 0 1 2 6