Payton Willis Returning to Gophers

Photo: Brad Rempel

Does the name, “Payton Willis”, ring a bell, Minnesota Gopher basketball fans? It should because Willis isn’t even 365 days removed from leaving the U of M campus. But after one year at the College of Charleston, Willis is coming back the same way he left, via the transfer portal.




Willis started his career at Vanderbilt, averaging just over 5 PPG in during both of his freshman and sophomore seasons. He then transferred to Minnesota, where he started 25 of 28 games, averaging 8.6 points and 36% from deep. Clearly, he had a falling out with Richard Pitino so he transferred to the College of Charleston. While there, bumped his 3PT shooting percentage to 40% and averaged 13.4 PPG.

The Minnesota Gophers roster now consists of 5 transfer portal commitments (Loewe, Battle, Sutherlin, Fox and Willis) and 3 players from the 2021 roster (Ihnen, Johnson, Gach), though Brandon Johnson has entered the NBA Draft process to see what his NBA chances are if he enters.

If Payton Willis can stroke nearly 40% from 3PT as a Gopher in 2021 then he’ll be a huge asset to Ben Johnson’s new squad.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan