Gophers senior forward Brandon Johnson, who declared for the NBA draft last month, put his name in the transfer portal over the weekend, a source told the Star Tribune.
The 6-8 former Western Michigan graduate transfer averaged 8.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 28 games for the Gophers last season, including 24 starts. His season-high 26 points with eight three-pointers helped Minnesota upset Iowa in overtime on Christmas Day.
Johnson had been in talks with new Gophers coach Ben Johnson about keeping options open to play pro or use the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA during the pandemic.
"We've had great talks with Brandon," Johnson said last week. "He's been awesome. His family's been awesome. It's tough because the [NBA draft] window is pretty long. So, we just kind of told him to keep us posted. We're in daily talks and communication with him."
Ben Johnson has four scholarships remaining after signing six transfers this spring, but the Gophers are still pursuing several players in the transfer portal, especially in the frontcourt. Boston College transfer and Shakopee native Steffon Mitchell reportedly has Minnesota among his four finalists, including Utah, Texas A&M and San Diego State.
The Gophers can't afford to wait too long for Brandon Johnson to decide.
"We just told him to keep us up to date on what you're thinking and what you're feeling," Ben Johnson said. "It's hard because the NBA window goes a lot longer than what most college coaches would like. We're trying to put a team together as well. But we got to respect Brandon and the process he's going through."
On April 15, Brandon Johnson posted on social media that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft "while maintaining my eligibility of coming back to school."
The Gophers officially announced the signing of William & Mary transfer Luke Loewe. Loewe, a 6-4 senior guard from Wisconsin, averaged 16.2 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists last season.
"Luke is another tough and gritty guy who loves to compete," Ben Johnson said in a statement. "He loves to play defense and can shoot the ball too. Luke has played more than 100 games of college basketball and has improved every year."