Gophers Are Massive Favorites to Land UNC Transfer Dawson Garcia

Photo: Jefferey A. Camarati - University of North Carolina

Last week, Ben Johnson was confident that his Minnesota Gophers would only pull talent from the transfer portal this offseason. That, unlike this time last year, when he lost an entire roster to it. And it appears as if Johnson’s about to pay that promise off in a big way.

University of North Carolina sophomore, Dawson Garcia, who’s from Prior Lake (MN), entered the NCAA Transfer Portal on Wednesday morning. Garcia, who has three years of eligibility remaining, left the UNC program in the middle of the 2021-22 season because of multiple family tragedies he has been reportedly dealing with. The 6’11” sharp-shooting big man made his announcement via Twitter, thanking Tar Heel Nation and revealing his goal to play closer to home.

Before he became a power-5 college basketball player, Garcia was at Prior Lake high school, where he became a 5-star recruit (247Sports) who ranked in the top-40 nationally. He was the type of high-end prospect that we’ve become all too used to losing.

Third School’s a Charm

Dawson Garcia played in 16 games for the Tar Heels last season, starting 12. He averaged 9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Garcia’s decision to leave the North Carolina program and enter the transfer portal means he will have to stay close to home if he wants to play college basketball in 2022-23.

Before his time in Chapel Hill, Dawson Garcia was a highly touted Freshman at Marquette, where he put up pretty impressive numbers (13 points, 6.6 rebounds per game) in his first year. He only entered the transfer portal and left for UNC after Marquette fired the head coach he committed to, Steve Wojciechowski.

So this would make for Garcia’s second transfer, meaning he has to either (a) sit out a season or (b) get granted waiver eligibility by the NCAA to play immediately. The “Hardship Waiver” was created for the exact life-situation Dawson Garcia is dealing with right now and that’s what he’ll reportedly apply for.

It took no time for Ben Johnson to contact Garcia once he entered the portal. In all reality, they were already in-touch.

Garcia a lock to Minnesota?

But according to Ryan James (, Dawson Garcia isn’t only considering the Gophers. He’s pretty much a lock to wear maroon and gold. And there couldn’t be a better source on something like this.

James knows anyone who’s ever been involved in MN high school basketball at a high level and he forgets more insider knowledge on a random Tuesday than what I’ll overhear throughout my entire career. So when James is on the Gopher Illustrated message boards, telling paid subscribers that this deal is basically sealed, it’s as good as guaranteed in my eyes.

GI Subscriber: So is it a horribly kept secret that he’s coming here, or are we all just being hopeful

James: Minnesota is a massive, massive favorite to land Dawson. I expect a commitment some time soon (247Sports)

GI Subscriber: Man, this would be so huge. Wish he didn’t have to deal with so much hardship, but hopefully he can two birds one stone this thing. Get himself to the NBA while being a hometown hero!

James: You can take “would” out of there (247Sports)

Hang the banner. Plan the parade. Ben Johnson’s Gophers are coming for the Big Ten.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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