One recruiting door closed Tuesday for the Gophers with four-star Sunrise Christian (Kan.) point guard Grant Sherfield announcing his commitment to Wichita State.
Another door is still open, though, with German forward Isaiah Ihnen looking forward to his trip to Minnesota for an official visit Sunday through Tuesday.
“I think Minnesota is a great program,” Ihnen told the Star Tribune. “They have great facilities, coaches and fans.”
The 6-foot-9 Ihnen said he plans to visit Minnesota after his trip to Fort Worth to see Texas Christian this week. The up-and-coming 19-year-old prospect at Germany’s International Basketball Academy of Munich (IBAM) had early scholarship offers from Tennessee and Stanford, but he narrowed his decision to the Horned Frogs and Gophers.
“I think that the (Louisville) win shows that this program is able to compete in the tournament and just how far they came as a program,” Ihnen said about Minnesota.
Ihnen gained exposure to college coaches recruiting internationally after playing with IBAM, which produced Stanford big man Oscar Da Silva and most recently 2019 NBA Draft prospect Joshua Obiesie. Ihnen played this season with Obiesie, who was on the World team in the Nike Hoop Summit over the weekend. Despite being just 190 pounds, Ihnen’s potential is intriguing with his athletic ability, length (7-4 wingspan) and perimeter skills for his size. He averaged 12.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists and shot 35 percent from three-point range this season in the NBBL. In case you're wondering, that's Germany’s top basketball league for U19 players.
The Gophers likely could use Ihnen eventually as a stretch power forward once his frame fills out, but his early impact projects as a wing. A role comparison maybe is a slightly taller version of Amir Coffey when the Hopkins product arrived as a freshman a few years ago.
“I could have a big opportunity to have the ball in my hands,” Ihnen said the Gophers told him. “I’ll be used on the perimeter and occasionally in the post to make use of mismatches.”
Drexel junior Alihan Demir is scheduled for his official visit before Ihnen from Friday through Sunday, but they definitely would be able to play together at the U. The 6-9, 230-pound Demir is a graduate transfer who could compete for immediate playing time at power forward and center next season.
In the Gopher backcourt, Sherfield would've competed for starting role, but he chose to stay close to his family by picking the Shockers over the Gophers and Wake Forest. After being born and raised in Wichita, Sherfield moved to Texas with his family around middle school, but he returned for his senior year with his parents. The former UCLA recruit also told 247Sports.com recruiting director Evan Daniels that Wichita State coach Greg Marshall sold him on being able to start at point guard and “lead them back to the Final Four and win a National Championship.”
In March, Sherfield made an official visit with the Gophers where he saw the Senior Night win over Purdue. Minnesota assistant Kyle Lindsted was a longtime family friend. The Sherfields were impressed with Richard Pitino’s program, but that wasn’t enough to persuade them in the end. Pitino and his staff are moving on to other targets in the backcourt, including grad transfers Donnell Gresham (Northeastern) and Max Hazzard (UC Irvine).