Historic Commit, Dennis Evans, Wants Out of Gophers MBB

Photo: University of Minnesota

The Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team is terrible, right now, and they’ve just been dealt a brutal blow to their future. On Tuesday, the highest-rated commitment (247Sports) in twenty years called head coach Ben Johnson and asked to be released of the National Letter of Intent that he signed just months ago. On Friday, the request for his release was officially filed, according to the Star Tribune’s Marcus Fuller.

Dennis Evans III, the five-star, 7-foot senior from California, informed the Gophers earlier this week he wanted to be released from his signed letter of intent, sources told the Star Tribune.

The official request was submitted Friday, and the Gophers are likely to grant it, according to sources. Gophers coach Ben Johnson declined to comment on Evans’ request Friday.

Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune

Dennis Evans (Hillcrest High School – CA) is the 18th ranked high school prospect in the entire nation, according to 247Sports.com. For context, Daniel Oturu was ranked 48th nationally, in the 2018 class. Only past commits, Kris Humphries (2003 class) and Royce White (2009 class), had a higher recruiting rating when they committed to the University of Minnesota.

Bad basketball has consequences

The Gophers are 1-15 in conference play this season, and it’s HIGHLY unlikely they match the three Big Ten wins they accumulated in Ben Johnson’s first season as head coach. Johnson can try all he wants to convince recruits that the future is bright, but words can only go so far.

Evans claims, per Fuller, that the Gophers’ current 11-game loss streak has nothing to do with his decision to back out of his NLI, but people close to him admit that watching the team play this year has made Dennis feel like the Gophers ‘might not be the right fit’.

Minnesota’s current 11-game losing streak didn’t appear to be the determining factor for Evans, who picked the Gophers last fall over Texas Christian. People close to Evans told the Star Tribune that he and his family had been thinking for a while that the Gophers might not be the right fit after watching this season.

Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune

This is a devastating blow for Minnesota Gophers basketball. If Johnson were to have a tough offseason in the transfer portal, it could doom the program he’s trying to build.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan