Cretin-Derham Hall's big man Daniel Oturu won't be a freshman with the Gophers until the 2018-19 season. But he was encouraged by the news of his future coach's contract extension Wednesday.
Richard Pitino received another year added to his contract to secure him through the 2021-22 season, the team announced. That will be a valuable recruiting tool, because he can tell the 2018 recruiting class he would be around for their four-year career.
"It's good to see he'll be here through my time," said Oturu, who was checking out construction on the University of Minnesota's new Athletes Village facility Wednesday.
Oturu, a 6-foot-10 junior, committed to the Gophers in January before Pitino was named Big Ten coach of the year and the team reached the first NCAA tournament since 2013. Oturu plans to use the new practice facility to help convince other Minnesota players to join him at the U.
"Yeah, it's real nice," Oturu said. "It'll (be) brand new our freshman year, so the facilities should be the best."
Playing on the Nike EYBL circuit through two sessions this spring, Oturu is averaging 10.8 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks for the 7-1 Howard Pulley Panthers. He hopes the hot start will help Pulley, with teammates and Gopher targets Tre Jones and Gabe Kalscheur, eventually reach their goal of playing for the Peach Jam championship in July.
Oturu's goals were clear going into the AAU season this year.
"Just trying to transcend my game to the next level and get a lot better," he said. "Just being able to work on doing more things on the court. And helping my team get back to (the Peach Jam) and winning more games."
Pulley teammate Jarvis Thomas of Orono picked up scholarship offers from Texas A&M and Pittsburgh this week. Thomas, a 6-7 forward, has interest from the Gophers, but he doesn't have an offer yet.
The fourth class of 2018 player from Minnesota with a Pitino offer is 6-8 Armstrong and D1 Minnesota forward Race Thompson, who was offered by Indiana on Tuesday.
The Gophers recently offered 6-6 University Prep Charter (N.Y.) wing Jeenathan Williams, he told Scout.com on Tuesday. Williams plays for the City Rocks AAU team in the EYBL.
Tilton (N.H.) School point guard Marcus Zegarowski reportedly received a Minnesota offer last week. The 6-1 junior has been one of the top three-point shooters in the EYBL with Expressions Elite.