The Gophers were working hard to land North Dakota big man Filip Rebraca, but he announced Thursday on Twitter he'll play for Big Ten rival Iowa next season.

The 6-foot-9 junior from Serbia had been highly touted on the transfer market after averaging 16.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and shooting 37% from three-point range last season for the Fighting Hawks.

"It was the hardest decision of my life so far," Rebraca told the Star Tribune. "I'm sorry for everyone who was looking forward to me being a potential Gopher."

Rebraca had a second video conference call with Iowa on Sunday, but he also talked again Monday with new Gophers coach Ben Johnson and his coaching staff, including newly-hired assistants Dave Thorson and Jason Kemp.

"They seem like genuine guys and they have a lot of energy and charisma," Rebraca said. "It's easy to get behind what they are saying. I know it's their first year, but their optimism for their program is second to none."

Earlier this month, Rebraca was the first Gophers transfer target to speak with Johnson, Thorson and Kemp officially together, but he ultimately felt the Hawkeyes were a better fit.

"I am looking for a program that has a culture of winning and will allow me to expand my game to the perimeter even more than this past year," Rebraca said earlier.

Johnson and his staff are still searching for more frontcourt pieces to add from the transfer portal, especially after losing 7-foot center Liam Robbins to Vanderbilt. The Gophers, who have six open scholarships, reportedly contacted Vanderbilt's Dylan Disu, Oklahoma's Kur Kuath and Texas A&M's Emmanuel Miller.

George Washington wing and former DeLaSalle standout Jamison Battle was the first to commit to Johnson. The U also picked up guards Payton Willis (Charleston/Minnesota), E.J. Stephens (Lafayette), Luke Loewe (William & Mary) and Sean Sutherlin (New Hampshire), and landed Division II All-American forward Parker Fox (Northern State).

The only players expected to return to the U from last season are junior guard Both Gach and sophomore forward Isaiah Ihnen. Incoming recruit and LaLumiere (Ind.) big man Treyton Thompson is also joining the team this summer.