As expected, the transfer portal pool continues to grow for the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team, after Richard Pitino was fired and replaced with Xavier assistant and Minneapolis native, Ben Johnson. On Friday night, wing Tre Williams and center Sam Freeman filled out their transfer paperwork and submitted it to the NCAA.
Minnesota sophomore guard Tre’ Williams is transferring, he told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 26, 2021
Williams averaged 5.8 points per game this past season.
That makes FIVE
That makes five Golden Gophers, who have now entered the transfer portal, since the season ended two weeks ago. The three prior to Friday included Jarvis Omersa, Marcus Carr and Jamal Mashburn Jr. None of the entrants have been surprising.
Omersa was unhappy and left the team during the season. Marcus Carr was always expected to leave for the pro game, after the 2020-21 season. Carving out a spot in the transfer portal, in order to widen his horizons, makes sense. And Jamal Mashburn Jr came to Minnesota because of Richard Pitino so it’s no surprise that he was out at the same time Richard was.
Tre Williams was one of the most confident players on the Minnesota Gophers this season. He was a guy that Richard could go to when Gabe wasn’t hitting from the outside or their were injuries in the back court. He could have a bright future, depending on where he lands and how he’s nurtured.
Sam Freeman is a young, longer-term project that had just started to bear fruit toward the end of 2020-21. He’s the type of big man talent you worry about in today’s transfer portal world. Sam could blossom into a legitimate division I big man but someone will have to see his potential. Landing with Pitino in the Mountain West vs lesser competition could be exactly what the doctor ordered for Freeman’s career. But, I’m just projecting.
Everyone is in the portal
Don’t panic. There’s nothing to be worried about when it comes to the NCAA transfer portal if you are a Minnesota Gophers fan. Wisconsin, who made the NCAA Tournament AGAIN this season and doesn’t have a new head coach taking over, also has five players in the transfer portal.
This isn’t a Minnesota or Big Ten thing. With the one-time transfer rule ready to be adopted by the NCAA, players are getting in on their chance to be a college free agent for the first time in major college athletics history. Instead of panicking, Gopher fans and faithful should see this as an opportunity for Johnson to grow a really good team, with kids he’s chosen, and not have to wait 3-5 years for success.
I wrote yesterday about three transfers from Minnesota, that Ben Johnson has already been in contact with. But over the next month, that list will grow exponentially and it won’t just be kids with local ties, though that is Johnson’s bread and butter.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan