Beyond the 10 players gone from the Gophers men’s basketball team’s 2020-21 roster, there are two returning players and two incoming signees who remain question marks leading into next season.
New Gophers coach Ben Johnson said Monday that he would “love to have” both junior guard Both Gach and redshirt senior forward Brandon Johnson return for next season.
“I think Brandon is in a situation where he has to figure out what he wants to do,” Ben Johnson said. “Brandon has been awesome from Day 1. Same thing with Both. Really excited about those guys’ future, if they choose to stay on.”
Ben Johnson also addressed the status of two signees he inherited from former coach Richard Pitino’s 2021 recruiting class — 6-foot-11 centers Treyton Thompson of Alexandria, Minn., and Kenny Pohto of Stockholm, Sweden.
“Treyton is on board,” Johnson said. “He’s been great. I know he is super excited to get here, as we are with him. Got to watch him a few years back. I know he’s got a big upside. His energy is infectious. I think he bleeds it. It will be good to get his excitement here on campus.
“Kenny has a couple of things he has to figure out and kind of decide on his end,” Johnson said. “So we will continue to talk, but that one is a little bit more up in the air.”
The Gophers have retained sophomore forward Isaiah Ihnen and the U has received commitments from four players via the NCAA transfer portal. Their roster total would reach seven players if Gach joined Thompson in remaining on board.
If Brandon Johnson transfers out and Pohto is released from his national letter of intent, the U would have six of 13 scholarships open for more newcomers.
“Rosters are forever changing,” Johnson said. “You are forever living on that portal and trying to find guys that fit the roster, fit what you need in terms of position and skill and that type of thing, but it’s continuous, which is fine.”
The NCAA transfer portal had more than 1,300 players in it on Monday, and Johnson shared pieces of his plan to sort through the masses.
“Because there are so many names in there that you could end up wasting a lot of time, if you don’t have a game plan,” Johnson said. “It’s trying to focus in on position of need, who’s available and then within who’s available, who fits what we are trying to do and who fits our style and our culture on and off the floor and are there any unique ties that we have on guys.
“The good and the bad is there are a lot of names, but the good is that there are a lot of opportunities there that you can find pieces to move the needle and get your program better.”