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Gopher Basketball Nugz - Early May Edition

Recruits, commitments and schedule updates

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan State vs Minnesota Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so the season is technically over, but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of news happening in and around the men’s basketball program. Spring recruiting has heated up, the Gophers are snagging recruits and grad transfers left and right and next season’s schedule is already starting to take shape. Here’s some of the latest happenings:

Richard Pitino published his latest blog:

Pitino has been lauded for his transparent and straightforward blog posts and his season recap post is no different. In it he hashes out his takeaways from this season, and his thoughts on player performance. Here’s an interesting nugget from it:

Minnesota adds Drexel grad transfer in another recruiting win

The Gophers secured additional front court depth for the 2019-20 season by adding graduate transfer Alihan Demir from Drexel University. At 6’9, the athletic Demir was often the Dragon’s go-to scorer throughout his junior season. He will enter the season as the leading candidate to start at power forward and fills a huge need as a starting-caliber guy down low who can score.

Gophers land four-star German recruit

Who says Pitino can’t recruit? Minnesota bolstered its incoming recruiting class by landing top-100 power forward Isaiah Ihnen (pronounced EE-nen) from Germany. Ihnen is a four-star prospect currently ranked as the 89th prospect in the country who presents a fascinating set of skills and should make an impact next season for Minnesota. The 6’9” prospect chose Minnesota over TCU.

Pitino receives contract extension

The Gophers agreed to a two-year contract extension with the head coach, putting to rest any rumors that Pitino could be on the move. With the extension, it’s a reaffirmation that Pitino will be here for the foreseeable future and can only help with his recruiting efforts in the near-term.

Sam Freeman chooses Gophers

The Gophers received a commitment from Texas prep Sam Freeman, a three-star center who chose Minnesota over Virginia Tech. Freeman is big-bodied and known primarily as a rebounder and defender. It will be fun to see him pair with Daniel Oturu in the coming years to create a physical front court for the Gophers.

Gophers will play Oklahoma next year in Sioux Falls

The annual-ish tradition of heading to The Pentagon in Sioux Falls will continue next year as Minnesota announced it will face the Oklahoma Sooners on Nov. 9 in South Dakota in a neutral site game. This will be Minnesota’s third visit to the arena, having faced Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt in recent seasons.