In the fall, Minnesota signed three new recruits for 2014: power forward Josh Martin and guards Nate Mason and Carlos Morris, with one scholarship left to spare.
But after a few unexpected mid-season twists, the Gophers now have two more scholarships to use.
First, last month, Wally Ellenson decided to quit the team to focus on track and field. Then, the University of Minnesota announced on Wednesday that Oto Osenieks would be hanging up his jersey due to knee troubles. Now, the Gophers have three possibilities left for the spring signing period, meaning things could be just hectic as they were in the fall, which is rarely the case.
Who will be the latest players to don maroon and gold? Right now, there are four Minnesota is going after the hardest:
Bakary Konate: The 6-11 Mali native (Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas) has already visited Minnesota, and the Gophers seem to be among the frontrunners for him. With Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker both seniors next year, the Gophers are in great need of a big man to develop and Konate seems like he could be a good fit. The center moves pretty well for his size and can shoot the ball a little as well. Louisville and Texas A&M are also involved, according to Rivals.com.
Djuan Piper: The Seattle (Rainer Beach) forward has said he's down to three schools, and Minnesota is among them. The 6-6 quick slashing Piper is one of the better recruits remaining in the 2014 class, but he will need to get his grades in order before signing day arrives. Minnesota would benefit from his good length and the addition would help bulk up a power forward position that needs depth. Piper visited Minnesota during the weekend of the Indiana game in early February. The other schools involved are Gonzaga and Washington.
Kobie Eubanks: The shooting guard from Our Savior New American (NY) has whittled his list down to five: Wichita State, Pittsburgh, Missouri, Baylor and Minnesota. The 6-4 Florida native had a visit scheduled for Wichita State, but never made it. Recently, Eubanks, a shooting specialist, visited Pitt and Baylor, and has talked about visiting the others although there is nothing scheduled at the moment.
Abdoulaye Gueye: The Gophers have been on the Senegal native for some time, but always knew he would be a late signee. Now, it could be a recruiting battle between Richard Pitino and Tubby Smith (how fun!) with Minnesota and Texas Tech showing the most interest, according to Rivals.com. The 6-9 power forward (currently at Central Park Christian in Birmingham) has great size, has a good jumper and would give the Gophers a very different type of player at the four-spot than they have currently have on the roster.