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Gophers men's basketball coach Ben Johnson was hopeful a month ago that the core of his 19-win NIT team from this past season would be coming back.

After the transfer portal closed May 1, the Gophers ended up with seven players in the portal, including four of their top six scorers. The mass exodus resembled a similar period when Johnson took over the program in 2021.

Key departing players this year included Cam Christie (NBA draft, transfer portal), Pharrel Payne (Texas A&M), Elijah Hawkins (Texas Tech), Braeden Carrington (Tulsa) and Joshua Ola-Joseph (California Berkeley).

Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Johnson and his staff went to work to build the team back up again around leading scorer Dawson Garcia and three-point ace Mike Mitchell Jr., who resisted the pull for bigger NIL opportunities.

How did the Gophers fill more than half of their new roster in the spring? Here's the 2024-25 team breakdown after additions from the portal and incoming recruits. Summer practice starts in early June.

Returning players

Mike Mitchell, 6-2 senior (San Jose, Calif.)

Started the last 23 games alongside Big Ten assist leader Hawkins. Mitchell averaged 10.2 points and 2.6 assists and shot a team-best 39.9% from three-point range with 77 threes.

Dawson Garcia, 6-11 senior (Savage)

Led the Gophers in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (6.7) in back-to-back seasons. Also had career highs in field-goal percentage (48.6), free-throw percentage (80.2), blocks (1.0) and minutes (31.9) to earn All-Big Ten.

Parker Fox, 6-8 senior (Mahtomedi)

After back-to-back seasons missed with injuries, Fox was a sixth man and ranked second in team history at 68.3% on field goals last season. Will be back for his seventh season.

Kadyn Betts, 6-9 sophomore (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

Former four-star recruit averaged 7.1 minutes in eight games last season. Was consistently the team's top performer on the scout team in practice.

Incoming transfers

Trey Edmonds, 6-10 senior (Texas San Antonio)

At 255 pounds, the Denver native's size helps replace the physical presence of Payne, but he can play both frontcourt spots. Edmonds scored 12 points in UTSA's loss to the Gophers.

Frank Mitchell, 6-8 senior (Canisius)

Toronto native is another physical force at 240 pounds. Finished fourth in the nation with 11.4 rebounds per game last season. Had 12 games with at least 14 rebounds, including twice grabbing 20-plus boards.

Femi Odukale, 6-6 senior (New Mexico State)

All-Conference USA wing who averaged 10.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks last season. Played his first three seasons at Pittsburgh and Seton Hall.

Lu'Cye Patterson, 6-2 senior (Charlotte)

Former Minnesota Prep Academy star has 82 career starts. Averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists to earn All-American Athletic Conference honors last season.

Brennan Rigsby, 6-3 senior (Oregon)

Averaged 6.1 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 35% from three-point range with the Ducks. Started 13 games last season, highlighted by his season-high 19 points in a win vs. Michigan on Dec. 2.

Caleb Williams, 6-2 senior (Macalester)

Former Division III local standout scored 41 points in an exhibition game against the Gophers last November. Has averaged 19.6 points in 80 career games (all starts).

High school class

Isaac Asuma, 6-2 freshman (Cherry, Minn.)

Four-star recruit and top 10 point guard in the 2024 class, according to 247Sports. Mr. Basketball finalist led Cherry to its first state boys basketball title.

Grayson Grove, 6-9 freshman (Alexandria, Minn.)

Earned Class 3A state all-tournament team honors after Alexandria finished fourth. Had 26 points and 15 rebounds in a quarterfinal game at Williams Arena.

NBA draft/portal

Cam Christie, 6-6 sophomore (Arlington Heights, Ill.)

First Gophers All-Big Ten freshman since 2017. Averaged 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and shot 39.1% from three. Focused on NBA draft but could return to college at the U or elsewhere.


Erick Reader, 6-8 sophomore (Woodbury, Minn.)

Ex-New Life Academy standout played in two games last season.