Division II All-America transfer Parker Fox, who signed with the Gophers this spring, is expected to be sidelined six-to-nine months after recovering from knee surgery, he told the Star Tribune on Monday.
Fox, a 6-foot-8 junior from Northern State (S.D.), committed to new Gophers coach Ben Johnson on April 15. The Mahtomedi native said he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee while working out on campus later that week.
"My goal is to be a part of it this year," Fox said. "But I also want to make sure I'm getting my body right. I'm going to work really hard to get myself ready."
After having surgery three weeks ago, Fox will join the Gophers and enroll in summer school on time next month. One of the most explosive athletes in D-II basketball, he was injured after going in for one of his routine dunks.
"I jumped off my right foot and landed on my left leg and felt a pop," Fox said. "It was kind of a freak accident. [Johnson] didn't waver with me. He didn't even second guess it. It was tough for me to tell him. Obviously, I broke down. He still wants me to be a part of the program and what they have going on."
Fox was among six transfers the Gophers signed this spring but the only frontcourt player. He hopes to recover with enough time to play during the 2021-22 season, but the Gophers won't rush him back.
"Obviously, I will eventually get myself right and be out there on the court," Fox said. "Just having the trust that Ben has in my ability to get better and be a part of this eventually was really, really awesome."
Last season, Fox averaged 22.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and national-best 3.5 blocks at Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. He has two years of eligibility remaining.
"I am excited that he is able to live out his childhood dreams of wearing the Maroon and Gold," Johnson said recently. "That is really cool. Parker is a high-energy player who will bring extreme athleticism to our program. He has always had passion for the game and loves to compete."
The Gophers have five scholarships remaining to help add frontcourt depth to the perimeter-heavy roster for next season. The only post players currently are returning forward Isaiah Ihnen and 6-11 incoming freshman Treyton Thompson.
Johnson and his staff had a zoom call with 6-9 Western Michigan graduate transfer Greg Lee last week. Lee averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists last season.
Assistant salaries upgraded
Gophers assistant coaches Dave Thorson, Marcus Jenkins and Jason Kemp have a combined salary pool of $814,000, per contract details obtained by the Star Tribune.
Thorson, formerly an assistant at Colorado State and DeLaSalle's head coach, is the highest paid on Johnson's staff at $310,000 annually. Jenkins (from Richmond) and Kemp (William & Mary) will be paid $268,000 and $236,000 per year, respectively.
Johnson to DePaul
Senior Brandon Johnson, who averaged 8.9 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Gophers this past season after transferring from Western Michigan, said he will play for DePaul this fall. The 6-8 forward is a native of Chicago.