Former DeLaSalle and George Washington standout Jamison Battle on Monday night became the first player to commit to the Gophers men's basketball team under new coach Ben Johnson.
Battle, a 6-7 forward, averaged 17.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season for George Washington and will come to the Gophers via the transfer portal. He will have three years of eligibility remaining if he takes advantage of the NCAA's one-time transfer rule.
He announced his commitment to Minnesota on Twitter. Gophers center Liam Robbins retweeted that news, writing "Yessir JMo."
The 225-pound Battle shot 47.5% from the field last season, 35.4% from three-point range and 78.7% from the free-throw line. His shooting touch helped make him one of the nation's top transfer targets this offseason.
"I just feel great and I am excited to get started," Battle said via text. "I think the plans that Coach [Johnson] has in place are really special. He believes in me and wants to do everything in his power to help me be successful. The idea of playing at home is something that I've dreamed about as a kid and it's finally happening!"
Johnson, a fellow DeLaSalle alum, accepted the Gophers job on March 22 after spending his previous three years as an assistant coach at Xavier. He had a Zoom call with Battle last Thursday.
"We mostly talked about how he wants to build the program with local guys," Battle said. "It went really well. Got a great idea of the foundation that Coach is trying to build on."
Turnover is expected. Four players from this season's Gophers team have entered the transfer portal: Guards Marcus Carr, Jamal Mashburn and Tre Williams and backup center Sam Freeman.
But Johnson is expected to reel in several transfers, too. Before leaving for Xavier, he spent five seasons with the Gophers as an assistant coach under Richard Pitino and had deep connections in the Minnesota basketball community.
The Gophers are also looking at potential transfer options such as Parker Fox (Northern State), Race Thompson (Indiana) and Ish El-Amin (Ball State).