Finding a recruit who could step in immediately without taking up a treasured scholarship in 2014-- when a loaded recruiting class becomes available -- is clearly something that is important to new Gophers coach Richard Pitino and his staff.
The name Rakeem Buckles, who is currently at Florida International, but is reportedly considering a transfer, has come up in that context (Buckles could only play immediately if Minnesota were to successfully get such a waiver).
Now, another name along those lines is getting some life.
According to a source, the Gophers have offered Tarik Black, a big man who has played at Memphis for the last three seasons.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner told CBS Sports last Tuesday that Black would graduate this semester and then transfer. As a graduate student, Black would be eligible to play at his new school right away.
The 6-9, 262-pound forward would potentially be a big help in replacing former Gophers center Trevor Mbakwe, who departed after last season, but Black has no shortage of interested schools according to CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman, who tweeted that the junior has already drawn interest in 20 schools, including Duke and Kansas. The Gophers -- who Black took for 13 points and five rebounds before fouling out after 16 minutes of play in the Bahamas last November -- might offer him one of the best opportunities to start immediately, but with so much attention thrown his way, Minnesota is far from a lock to get him. Black averaged 8.1 points and 4.8 rebounds a game last season, down from the previous season, when he averaged 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Pitino and Co. have made it clear that they only want to bring in recruits that are a "good fit" for the program. Black could be that for Minnesota, and would represent a notable early recruiting "victory" for the new Gophers staff if they were able to coax him to Minneapolis.