The Gophers, in need of backcourt depth have picked up some help. Arkansas native and now former Vanderbilt combo guard, Payton Willis will be transferring to Minnesota.
The good news is that the Gophers have added some backcourt flexibility and depth that is much needed. The bad news is that Willis will have to sit out the 2018-19 season.
Confirmed that ex-Vanderbilt guard Payton Willis just committed to @GopherMBB tonight. Willis will sit out next season per transfer rules, but he’ll have two years of eligibility. He’s 6-4 combo guard from Arkansas. Played AAU ball with Gopher Eric Curry. pic.twitter.com/0hkYQOlt6d— Marcus R. Fuller (@Marcus_R_Fuller) April 22, 2018
Get to Know Payton Willis
So Willis is coming to Minnesota after playing a reserve role for Vandy. With an incoming recruiting class that includes 5-star point guard, Darius Garland and 4-star shooting guard, Aaron Nesmith; Willis is transferring out when playing time appears to be at a premium.
So why Minnesota? Well, Willis played his AAU basketball with Eric Curry and the two of them formed a relationship strong enough to convince Willis to consider Minnesota. He took a lengthy visit over this weekend and committed before leaving.
So What Next
Well, this solves a need for backcourt depth in the 2019-20 season. Willis comes into the program with 2 years remaining to play. But there is still a great need for backcourt help now.
Even after this commitment, the Gophers have 2 remaining scholarships to use. Work to land a JUCO or grad transfer who can help immediately in the guard rotation still has to be a priority.