Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures and that certainly appears to be the case right now in Dinkytown when it comes to the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team. Late this afternoon, it was announced that head coach Ben Johnson had pulled a much needed big man out of the transfer portal. His name is Charlie Daniels (not the band) and he’s a 6’9″ senior out of Stephen F. Austin who’s started just four games in his career.
Pulling from a WAC school usually means the player has put up big numbers and/or he’s projected as a Big Ten level talent. But with career averages at Stephen F. Austin that would make Spencer Tollackson look like a star on paper at The U… this take reeks of desperation.
News: #Gophers men's basketball team received a commitment from Stephen F. Austin transfer Charlie Daniels on Thursday. 6-foot-9 senior forward from Jacksonville, Fla., averaged 4.6 points on 57 percent shooting, 3.5 rebounds, 0.6 blocks in 21 games in the WAC in 2020-21 season.— Andy Greder (@andygreder) May 20, 2021
At Stephen F. Austin, Charlie Daniels (not the band) started 4 of the 50 games he played in.— Minnesota Sports Fan (@realmnsportsfan) May 20, 2021
In 14 MPG, he averaged 4.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and nothing else over 1.0. #Gophers
This is where I would normally add a highlight video or something to help all of you get to know a new player. But, I can’t find one. Honestly, it was a struggle to find a good photo to use as the feature for this post. I get it, the Gophers need depth desperately, especially in the front court. But you can’t act like losing Sam Freeman and Martice Mitchell is no sweat, then replace them with a bench player from the WAC.
Sure, it’s a weird year and there are excuses lined up for anyone who wants to grab them. But, we were sold on Ben Johnson because of his supposed recruiting abilities and connections. Yet months after being hired, we haven’t seen any eye-opening transfers pulled out of the portal or high-end Minnesota high school commitments landed.
As of now, the 2021-22 Gopher men’s basketball team is ripe to mop up the Big Ten floor. Can Johnson change that with what’s left in the portal? Even if he can’t, will he rectify a rough start in 2021 with the star-studded 2022 recruiting class we were promised when he was hired?
Time will tell.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan