Five-star Prior Lake big man Dawson Garcia will be the first Minnesota player in the 2020 class to take an official visit with the Gophers when he comes to campus this weekend.
Garcia, who is ranked as high as No. 22 nationally, recently narrowed his list of schools to seven, which includes Marquette, North Carolina, Indiana, Kansas, Arizona and Memphis.
In late July, Garcia said Minnesota would “definitely be in the mix, because it’s my hometown.”
The 6-foot-11 power forward and Team USA 3-on-3 gold medalist visited the Gophers unofficially twice this fall, including for the Georgia Southern football game Sept. 14.
“It’s definitely something to strongly consider,” Garcia said after the July evaluation period. “Sometimes here and there I’ll be at the gym and there will be some older (fans) and some even that played there back in the day. They’ll try to convince me to play there. It’s cool to hear their thoughts on everything. I would definitely feel comfortable there.”
A big factor in Garcia’s decision, though, will be joining a consistent winning program. The Gophers got back on track last season reaching the NCAA tournament second round.
“I see the program going up,” he said. “Last year, they had a super strong season. They had the two transfers sitting out last year (Marcus Carr and Payton Willis). I think they are very good players who are going to help a lot. Losing (Amir) Coffey hurt a little bit, but I think they’ll pick up pretty good.”
Richard Pitino has no commitments yet in the 2020 class. The Gophers weren't able to land four players offered in the state's senior class (East Ridge's Ben Carlson and Eastview's Steven Crowl committed to Wisconsin, Park Center's Dain Dainja to Baylor and Rochester Mayo's Gabe Madsen to Cincinnati). But Garcia, Minnehaha Academy's five-star guard Jalen Suggs and Hopkins four-star guard Kerwin Walton are still uncommitted from Minnesota. Walton is visiting Arizona this weekend on an official trip. Suggs is visiting Gonzaga for the second time next month.
Garcia's visit breaks a streak of just out-of-state Gophers targets making official trips to the U, including four-star prospects Gethro Muscadin, Jamari Sibley and Ty Berry.
This weekend, Pitino is also hosting four-star Chicago Bloom High school center Martice Mitchell on an official visit. The 6-10 Mitchell also has offers from Iowa, Xavier and Illinois.