The signings of 6-9 power forward Gaston Diedhiou, 6-11 center Bakary Konate and guard Zach Lofton completed the Gophers men’s basketball recruiting class of 2014.
The Gophers announced the signings Monday. The players joined forward Josh Martin and guards Nate Mason and Carlos “Squirrel” Morris, who signed letters of intent in the fall.
It is the Gophers’ largest recruiting class since 2010.
“We feel like we have added a great deal of athleticism,” coach Richard Pitino said. “That is extremely important with our style of play and as we continue to build this program.”
Lofton, a transfer from Illinois State who originally is from St. Paul, will redshirt one year. Konate, a Mali native playing at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan., provides some size in the post with centers Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker entering their final seasons.
Diedhiou, of Senegal, is playing in the Canary Islands. He and Martin are power forwards.
U golfers NCAA-bound
The Gophers women’s golf team received a berth to the NCAA tournament and will play in the 24-team Central Regional on May 8-10 in Stillwater, Okla. The top eight teams will advance to the NCAA finals May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla.
“Our girls worked incredibly hard this season, and they deserve this opportunity,” coach Michele Redman said. “The team really bought in this year, and it’s just great to see such hard work get rewarded.”
The Gophers are coming off a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten tournament, its best finish in the conference since 2002, when they also placed fifth.
Minnesota has made six previous appearances as a team in the national championships since 1989.
Wagner is honored as Miss Basketball
Carlie Wagner, who led New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva to back-to-back girls’ basketball Class 2A championships, was named the 2014 Minnesota Miss Basketball Award winner Saturday at the Minnesota High School Girls’ Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Series in Northfield. Wagner finished her high school career as the second-leading girls’ scorer in state history with 3,982 points. She signed with the Gophers in November.
• Senior catcher Emily Gregory hit her 38th and 39th career home runs and drove in seven runs as No. 16 St. Thomas clinched the MIAC softball championship by sweeping St. Mary’s in a doubleheader, 10-0 and 9-0. Gregory’s 39 home runs are the second-most in conference history. The Tommies (33-5, 21-1 MIAC) have won 17 in a row.
• Gophers softball pitcher Sara Groenewegen (12-1), who pitched a no-hitter Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader against Penn State, was chosen the Big Ten freshman of the week for the third time.