Gophers coach Ben Johnson received some timely news Thursday as the commitment from 6-foot-9 Stephen F. Austin transfer Charlie Daniels provides some much-needed depth in a thin frontcourt.
Daniels, who played the last two seasons at SFA in Texas, averaged 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds for the Lumberjacks last season. He had four double-figure scoring games in 2020-21, including 14 points against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
"It was a surreal moment to get to be on the biggest stage," Daniels told the Star Tribune on Thursday. "I'm ready to be a Gopher."
The 230-pound Jacksonville, Fla., native who goes by the nickname "Big Country" was offered a scholarship by the Gophers during a zoom meeting with Johnson and Gophers assistant coach Marcus Jenkins on Wednesday. He's the first of seven newcomer transfers who can play both frontcourt spots.
"My presence in the middle and controlling the paint I can bring to the table," said Daniels, who is graduating with a criminal justice degree. "I think I'm a verbal leader. So, I can give a lot of direction in the frontcourt."
In 2018-19, Daniels averaged 10.6 points, a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in his second season at Indian River State College in Florida.
"I think he has a chance to help them set the right culture," Indian River State College coach Charlie Wilson said. "He's a big body and really physical. He's going to be one of the older guys on the team. He's got 50 Division I games of experience. It's going to give him an opportunity to lead."
The Gophers took a big hit in the post for next season when 6-8 Division II Northern State All-American transfer and Mahtomedi native Parker Fox was sidelined for up to six months after knee surgery.
"He's got a bright future," Johnson said during a zoom interview Thursday. "He's gonna have a big-time career for us. If he's able to come back [this season], great, and if he's not he'll recover fully and be ready to go next year."
Johnson and his staff still have four scholarships remaining for next season to give the Gophers more punch in the post.
Boston College senior forward Steffon Mitchell, a Shakopee native, remains in constant contact with the Gophers, who are among his final three schools with San Diego State and Utah.
Mississippi 6-11 grad transfer Khadim Sy included Minnesota among his four finalists on Thursday, joining Clemson, Wake Forest, and East Carolina. Sy posted on Instagram that he will announce his college decision next Wednesday.