Minnesota Preview Capsule
Last season: 24-10, lost to Middle Tennessee in first round of NCAA Tournament.
Nickname: Golden Gophers.
Coach: Richard Pitino
Conference: Big Ten.
Who’s gone: SG Akeem Springs: He had a team-high 67 made 3-pointers in his lone season at Minnesota as a graduate transfer.
Who’s back: PG Nate Mason: The senior was among 20 point guards in the country named to the preseason Bob Cousy Award watch list after being named first team All-Big Ten for 2016-17. SF Amir Coffey: The Big Ten All-Freshman Team pick from last season and the son of former Gophers standout Richard Coffey has only scratched the surface with his inside-outside, two-way ability. PF Jordan Murphy: The team’s leading rebounder averaged 11.3 points per game last season. C Reggie Lynch: The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year set a new single-season Gophers record with 114 blocked shots.
Who’s new: PG Isaiah Washington: The Mr. New York Basketball award winner as the top player in the state, he was a consensus top-100 recruit. PF Davonte Fitzgerald: The fifth-year junior has two seasons of eligibility left after sitting out two years, one for a transfer from Texas A&M and one after an ACL tear and other damage to his left knee from an offseason practice.
The Skinny: Coming off a 16-win turnaround from 2015-16 and the first NCAA Tournament appearance since Pitino took over in 2013, bringing all but Springs back from their top seven scorers from last season, hopes are the highest this program has had in 20 years. Staying healthy will be the key. PF Eric Curry, who made meaningful contributions as a freshman backup, injured his left knee in an offseason pickup game and will redshirt this season.