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Payton Willis Enters Transfer Portal as Pitino Gets Commitment from W. Michigan Grad-Transfer

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It’s been a crazy few days in Minnesota Gopher Basketball land… All of it was positive until this most recent news drop.

This weekend, Richard pinned the top transfer of the season, Liam Robbins (Drake) to his “incoming transfer” board. Then earlier today, he got a commitment from another front-court target, Brandon Johnson (Western Michigan).

Johnson seems like a guy who will demand plenty of minutes at the 4-spot. That’s probably what he was promised too because Brandon had some other legitimate offers he could have jumped at.

Suddenly, the Gopher front-court is looking rather full. I don’t know what these two newcomers mean for the futures of Sam Freeman and Eric Curry…

Johnson’s best tape I could quickly find, comes from his Sophomore season at Western Michigan. There isn’t much available from last season and he was out with a knee injury for most of 2018-19. Directly below this YouTube video, you can see where Stadium’s Jeff Goodman ranks him among immediately eligible transfers (he has him ranked #16).



16) Brandon Johnson, 6-8, 200, F, Jr., Western Michigan

Stats: 15.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg

Scout’s take“Inside/out guy who has a motor. Can defend BCS size at the four. Shoots 3’s and can score in the post. Is a competitor. Can definitely help a high-major team and carve out a role on a good team.”

● COMMITTED TO MINNESOTA

Jeff Goodman – Stadium.com

Out of nowhere though, Payton Willis just dropped his name into the transfer portal… where did that come from? It’ll be interesting, as we wait for more details on Willis’ decision.

Pitino gave him all of the run he could, through an injury-riddled junior season in maroon and gold, so that can’t be the cause… I’m puzzled on this one, early.

Remember, Willis came to campus after spending one season at Vanderbilt. He was ineligible for 2018-19, before getting back on the court last year. This time, he’ll graduate before transferring and be eligible immediately.

I’ll have my ear to the ground for more.



Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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