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Minnesota Basketball: Gopher recruit Dennis Evans granted release from letter of intent

The top Gopher basketball recruit will be heading elsewhere

NCAA Basketball: Minnesota at Nebraska Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

This news broke a few days ago, but the University of Minnesota has given Dennis Evans a release from his letter of intent to play basketball for the Gophers next year.

You may recall that Evans is a 4-star center from California who chose the Gophers over TCU and signed with Ben Johnson’s program last fall. He was expected to come in and be an immediate shot-blocking presence on defense with a quickly-improving offense.

This is a significant blow to Johnson’s 2023 recruiting class and the perceptions of the direction of the program.

But what does this mean for the future?

Currently, the staff still has an elite shooting guard coming into the program next year with Cameron Christie. Clearly, this a position and skill-set that is much needed. This now leaves just 1 available scholarship for the 2023 class and I’m sure the staff will be hitting the spring decision-makers hard in the coming weeks.

Transfers are incredibly common in today’s college basketball landscape, so there will certainly be more attrition once the season wraps up and there will be more scholarships available to work with.

The best-case scenario this spring is that Johnson is able to retain his core players, keep Christie in the fold, add another incoming freshman, as well as 1 impact transfer. Those first two will be critical if they want to see any improvement next season.

I’m sure this has been a difficult season for everyone involved with the program. The challenge becomes keeping everyone on board and looking head to building something here.