Dawson Garcia ‘Left a Lot of Money on Table’ with Return to Dinkytown

Dawon Garcia, Minnesota Gophers
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday, Minnesota Gophers big man Dawson Garcia announced his return to the University of Minnesota, something that would have been a bit crazy had it happened 5 years ago but something that, in 2024, Ben Johnson happily splashed all over Gophers MBB social medias.

Why? Because it’s a big deal. Dawson felt like the linchpin to Minnesota’s offseason this week. Had he opted for the NBA or transfer portal, after sophomore Pharrel Payne and two others announced their departure just days earlier, the offseason exodus would have been on.

But that’s not what happened. In fact, the Prior Lake, MN native unexpectedly dodged the NBA Draft process all together. It had been previously reported that he was going to test out the draft waters over the next couple months, before deciding whether or not he would return to Dinkytown or go pro.

Dawson Garcia left stacks of cash on table with return to Minnesota Gophers

dawson garcia, minnesota gophers
Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, he strategically committed to a return as soon as humanly possible, which should help Ben Johnson keep others in Dinkytown, who may have otherwise left. Not only that, his return may help convince better transfer portal talent to join the Gophers too.

And according to his head coach (in an interview with Marcus Fuller of the Star Tribune), Garcia left “a lot” of money on the table by choosing to take another lap with his hometown school.

“Everybody talks about what’s maybe broken with college basketball. Dawson’s all about what’s right about college basketball … He left a lot of money on the table. That’s a credit to him. There are things he weighed, and his family weighed. I hope our fans really can appreciate that in this day and age.”

Ben Johnson (via Star Tribune)

It doesn’t surprise me to hear that Garcia left a bunch of money on the table when he announced his return to the Gophers. Remember, Pharrel Payne is deciding between just about every blueblood school in the country, which means he is mulling offers well into the six-figures.

Related: Ben Johnson Optimistic that Worst of Gophersโ€™ Transfer Portal Season is Behind Them

For the 2024-25 season, I’d imagine that Dawson could have made just as much, if not more. Yes, Payne is a monster and he will add a different, more manly feel to whatever roster he lands on. But Garcia offers the two-sided offensive coin that Payne can’t.

Not only can Dawson Garcia play below the rim, but the 6’11”, 230 lb 22-year-old is what of the best 3-point shooters on Minnesota’s roster as well. He’s shot 283 shots from deep during his 4-year collegiate career and knocked ’em down at a 35% clip, though that number did drop under 32% last season.

He has led Minnesota in scoring for both seasons he has played and, even with better talent around him last season, he stepped up his production, averaging 17.6 points per game, which led Cam Christie (2nd-leading scorer) by over six points per contest. His 6.7 rebounds per game were also tops on the roster.

Related: Minnesota Big Man Pharrel Payne is in the Portal and EVERYBODY Wants Him

And it’s possible Ben was speaking to broader opportunities that would have been available to Garcia, outside of college basketball, including the NBA (or G-League), Big-3 or a plethora of offers he’d have abroad.

So if you are a Minnesota Gophers fan who wants to thank a hometown kid for doing what all college basketball fans wish more players would do, donate to Dinkytown Athletes. You can even request that your contribution go toward NIL for Dawson specifically.

Mike Mitchell return announced

It had been previously reported that Minnesota Gophers guard Mike Mitchell Jr was returning next season, as well, but that was officially announced by the team on Friday, as well. Mike is a very good microwave option off the bench.

When he’s on, he can easily be the team’s leading scorer on any given night. He’s not always on, but again, having that guy on your bench is key during a 30-something game season. He averaged 10.2 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game in over 29 minutes per game last season.

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