Gabe Kalscheur is keeping his option to return open, but he became the sixth Gophers men's basketball player to enter his name into the NCAA transfer portal Thursday, sources confirmed to the Star Tribune.
Kalscheur, who averaged 9.2 points and 2.9 rebounds this season as a junior, missed the last seven games after suffering a broken finger on his right (shooting) hand Feb. 16.
The 6-4 former DeLaSalle standout joins Marcus Carr, Jamal Mashburn Jr., Tre' Williams, Sam Freeman and Martice Mitchell as players who finished this season on the Gophers roster who have entered the portal.
Carr and Mashburn are starters from this past season who don't appear to be considering coming back under new Gophers coach Ben Johnson. But reserves Both Gach, an Austin native, and Isaiah Ihnen will return, according to sources.
"I don't care if you're Duke, Kentucky, Minnesota or a lower-level team, I think everybody's going to face it," Johnson said last month about players entering the portal. "And now it's just having a plan in place and realizing it's going to happen."
Center Liam Robbins, the the Big Ten's leader in blocks this season, hasn't entered the portal. But Richard Pitino's former Gophers assistant Ed Conroy, who is Robbins' uncle, reportedly interviewed for the Utah State head coaching job recently.
That Kalscheur is considering transferring doesn't reflect on his views of Johnson, sources said. Kalscheur could still return to his hometown program, especially since Johnson recruited Kalscheur previously as Pitino's assistant. They both also played high school basketball under former DeLaSalle coach and Colorado State assistant Dave Thorson, who is a candidate to join Johnson's staff at the U.
In two of his last three games, Kalscheur scored in double figures, including 16 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three-point range and eight rebounds in a Feb. 11 win over Purdue at home.
As a freshman, Kalscheur scored 24 points on 5-for-11 shooting from three to lead the Gophers in a win over Louisville in the NCAA tournament first round in Des Moines.
In his first two seasons, Kalscheur led the Gophers in three-pointers made and set the freshman record with 77 three-pointers on 41% shooting in 2018-19.
Kalscheur was the last member of Pitino's high-profile 2018 local recruiting class, which included Daniel Oturu and Jarvis Omersa. Oturu left after his sophomore year to get drafted into the NBA. Omersa opted out earlier this season because of the pandemic.
If all of the Gophers players currently in the portal fail to return, Johnson would have nine scholarships available for next season. Senior Brandon Johnson is still considering using the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA for athletes during the pandemic.
Minnesota's first big addition under the new regime was former DeLaSalle star and George Washington transfer Jamison Battle, who committed on Monday.
Ben Johnson has contacted several players in the portal with Minnesota ties, including Division II Northern State's Parker Fox (Mahtomedi), Indiana's Race Thompson and Ball State's Ish El-Amin. Thompson, who has a video conference scheduled with the Gophers on Monday, and Fox are still undecided, but El-Amin committed Thursday to Rhode Island.
On Thursday night, Johnson also scheduled a video conference call with Lafayette graduate transfer E.J. Stephens, who is strongly considering the Gophers.
"I have heard nothing but great things about Coach Johnson," Stephens told the Star Tribune on Thursday. "A lot of people believe he's going to turn the program around … To play in the Big Ten at a school like Minnesota with great fans and all the support they have for the program would be awesome for sure."