The Gophers basketball squad will be one player lighter than expected next season.
A team source confirmed on Tuesday night that guard Joe Coleman has asked for his release from Minnesota following a coaching change that saw Richard Pitino replace Tubby Smith, the man who recruited the junior-to-be.
The Gophers confirmed the news officially on Wednesday in a news release.
“Joe Coleman has made the decision to leave the Golden Gopher basketball program. We wish him the very best in the future,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. “We appreciate the contributions he has given the program the last two years.”
The Minneapolis native, who averaged 8.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 26.3 minutes a game last season as a sophomore, is the first to transfer under Pitino's watch. For a team that is relatively thin coming into the 2013-14 season, this is not necessarily good news, although Pitino has been stocking up on backcourt players since taking over in April.
Tthe Gophers' guard corps includes Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins, reserve Maverick Ahanmisi and incoming recruits Daquein McNeil, Dre Mathieu and Malik Smith -- the last of whom committed on Wednesday. With Coleman gone, the Gophers no longer have any Minnesotans on the roster (Chris Halvorsen is graduating and isn't expected back, either), after boasting four last season.
Pitino and the staff had said previously that they didn't expect any transfers, but such occurrances are not uncommon following a coaching change.