Minnesota Golden Gopher Men’s Basketball Recap


Jack Radomski, Editor

The Minnesota Golden Gopher men’s basketball team finished their 2022-2023 season earlier this month, losing in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament after a less than stellar season. 

The Golden Gophers once again failed to reach the NCAA tournament and will not be participating in March Madness. 

The Golden Gophers finished last in the Big Ten Conference this year, with an overall record of 9-22 and 2-17 in conference play. 

Despite this record, the season ended on a somewhat happy note, as the team won their first game of the Big Ten Tournament, defeating Nebraska 78-75. Their season officially ended after a loss to Maryland in the next round of the Big Ten Tournament, losing 70-54. The team showed some signs of life in their win in a close game against Nebraska, and left some hope for Golden Gopher fans who were deprived of much winning during the most recent season. 

Another positive note to the Golden Gophers season is Dawson Garcia. The Savage, Minnesota native was named All-Big Ten Honorable Mention by both coaches and the media on Tuesday, March 7. He averaged 15.5 points and 6.6 rebounds in 24 games. 

The question remains what is in store for the Golden Gophers basketball team in the coming seasons, especially after the disappointing season. Coach Ben Johnson is faced with rebuilding a team that finished last in the Big Ten this year, and a team that just lost a top recruit.

In late February, Dennis Evans contacted Coach Johnson, telling him he wanted out of his national letter of intent. Evans would have been the Golden Gophers’ highest-rated recruit in 20 years. This was a low point for Johnson’s program and left many lingering questions about what will happen for the Golden Gophers in the future. 

Johnson commented on losing Evans, saying “We’d all love to hit the lottery and be in a different position,” he continued “the reality is in most instances that’s not what happens. You’ve got to be OK going through the suck if you’re going to turn it into anything.”

Two Golden Gopher players entered the transfer portal earlier this week, freshman Jaden Henley and sophomore Treyton Thompson. Thompson started at center for the team this year, so Johnson will have to fill the starting center position for the upcoming season. 

With the various departures from the team, the Golden Gophers will look forward to the upcoming recruiting class and build upon their current roster. 

Coach Johnson is still in the first years of his tenure at the helm of the team and is optimistic about the future of the program. 

Some students at the University of Minnesota and fans, in general, have different opinions. Jack Pokora, a senior at the University of Minnesota, says “I wish there was more of a basketball culture at the university, but that comes with winning. ” 

I wish there was more of a basketball culture at the university, but that comes with winning

I wish there was more of a basketball culture at the university, but that comes with winning

— Jack Pokora

The Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball team had a season that was marked by inconsistency. They showed flashes of brilliance at times, but ultimately finished with a losing record and failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Despite the disappointing end to the season, there were some bright spots, such as the play of Dawson Garcia. The team will need to regroup and reload for next season, but there is reason for optimism with the talent they have returning and the incoming recruiting class.

Golden Gopher basketball fans should look ahead to November when the next basketball season begins. A new season means new possibilities and new opportunities for the team, and fans can see what Coach Johnson has in store for the 2023-2024 season.