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

pharrel payne minnesota gophers transfer portal
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers have suffered some losses to the transfer portal, since their season ended. That’s life as a college athletics program in the year 2024. The most important thing nowadays is not “if” regular contributors enter the portal, but “which” contributors enter.

Hopefully, Gopher basketball fans who pay close enough attention (and have accepted the above as fact) weren’t surprised, or overly disappointed, when Josh Ola-Joseph and Braeden Carrington put their names in the portal. Both guys fell out of the starting lineup and became less and less important to the nightly gameplan, as the season wore on.

Everybody wants Pharrel Payne on their team

But there is no arguing that head coach Ben Johnson’s offseason took a turn for the worse when news broke that Cottage Grove big man Pharrel Payne planned to transfer too. When healthy, Payne looked like a man amongst boys with his size and skill in the post. And guess what, thanks in part to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the classic, skilled post player is all the rage lately.

So when other teams found out Payne was in the portal, the pursuit was on. How many teams, you ask? 28 and counting, according to a combination of Darren “Doogie” Wolfson (SKOR North, KSTP) and Portal Report. More have come in since full list of teams is below tweet in case it cuts off)

  • Texas Tech
  • Texas
  • Georgia
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • LMU
  • Georgia Tech
  • Nebraska
  • Arkansas
  • Providence
  • Utah
  • Ole Miss
  • Syracuse
  • Ole Miss
  • Xavier
  • Colorado
  • Iowa State
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Georgetown
  • Texas A&M
  • Butler
  • Oregon
  • UCLA
  • Arizona State
  • Mississippi State
  • Virginia Tech
  • Oklahoma

Notice anything about that list? That it spans from coast to coast. That it includes too many top-25 teams to count? I’ve noticed that it’s grown by three or four teams since I started writing this.

Payne blossomed in two seasons with Minnesota Gophers

Payne averaged 10.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes per game for the Minnesota Gophers during the 2023-24 season and anyone who watched him play realized he was a difference maker immediately. Clearly, other colleges that were scouting the Gophers noticed the same thing.

Related: Gophers MBB Working Transfer Portal Hard in Anticipation of Losing Their Own

What kind of NIL compensation is Payne looking at? Well, it was reported that Dennis Evans was getting $750,000 when he broke his commitment off with the University of Minnesota and committed to Louisville. He was non-existent during his freshman season and now sits in the portal (with a lot less offers than Payne has).

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