This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Minnesota's top target, Konate, cancels trip to Tulane; will commit soon

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches, Gophers players Updated: April 18, 2014 - 11:00 PM

Minnesota's chances with its top target looked a little more secure on Friday night, when Bakary Konate told the Star Tribune he had cancelled his official visit to Tulane.

"I told coach 'I am sorry,'" he said, referring to Tulane coach Ed Conroy. "I had to make my decision to stay here."

Now, the 2014 big man --  who has been the apple of Gophers coach Richard Pitino's eye for some time -- hopes to make his decision within the next couple of weeks.

The 6-11 Mali native has said publicly that his top schools include Minnesota, Texas A&M, Tulane and Creighton. Friday, Konate said he already knew what his eventual choice would be but he wanted to wait to announce it. 

Minnesota is the only of the four schools that he has visited. The center, who is currently playing at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, did not rule out trying to visit another school in the next week or two.

The Gophers badly need more size to step in behind Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker, who will each be in their last year of eligibility next season. Konate, who Pitino discovered while recruiting Sunrise's Lourawls 'Tum Tum' Nairn (who has since committed to Michigan State), appears to be a good fit for Minnesota's new system. While the 230-pound center likely will be expected to gain weight and strength, he runs well for his size and can shoot from distance. With Eliason and Walker around, the Gophers would have the luxury of bringing Konate along slowly and developing his post game.

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