Minnesota was ranked 16th in the HERO Sports Preseason Rankings. They didn't even win 16 games this season.
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The Gophers suffered a major blow when sophomore forward Eric Curry tore his ACL in late August but they still brought back nearly every key piece, including All-Big Ten point guard Nate Mason and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Reggie Lynch. After starting 7-0 — with wins over Alabama and Providence — the program imploded.
Injuries, off-the-court issues and miserable play led to 17 losses in their 25 games, including a loss to Rutgers in the First Round of the Big Ten Tournament. And now they bid adieu to not only Lynch — who was expelled from school for violations stemming from a sexual assault investigations — but also Mason, one of the best point guards in program history.
Despite the losses, the Gophers could return to the NCAA Tournament thanks to returnees and a strong recruiting class. Here is their projected 2018-19 rotation.
Daniel Oturu is the Gophers' best frontcourt signing since Kris Humpries in 2003.
The 6-foot-10, 220-pound local product (Saint Paul) is the fourth-ranked center in the class and No. 48 prospect. He's a college-ready post player that needs more muscle but will make an immediate impact.
Jordan Murphy was one of few constants for the Gophers during their 15-win nightmare.
He's just 6-foot-6, 240 pounds but plays like a 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward who dominates the boards and shoots 53 percent from the floor.
Amir Coffey needs a mulligan on his sophomore campaign.
The former four-star recruit was good during non-conference play but missed 15 of their final 19 games with a shoulder injury.
Minnesota fans have been waiting for Dupree McBrayer to break out since the top-150 player arrived three years ago. His shooting woes returned after a strong sophomore season and he committed a foul or turnover every nine minutes.
Expectations were through the roof for four-star point guard Isaiah Washington, who dazzled fans with highlight-reel plays as a high schooler.
He was wildly — literally — inconsistent the entire year, routinely following up head-scratching shot selection with a ruthless array of spins, shakes and dunks.
Stockman, a 7-foot, 240-pounder from Norway, sat out last season after transferring from Louisville and has one year of eligibility remaining.
He has size but showed nothing in three years at Louisville to suggest he can be a reliable big man.
This was supposed to be Eric Curry's breakout year. That got shoved back to 2018-19 when the promising sophomore forward was lost for the season in August.
Michael Hurt was shoved into action during Richard Pitino's repeated number crises. He's limited athletically but is still a 6-foot-7 forward than runs the floor, gives maximum effort and can shoot from deep.
This will be Davonte Fitzgerald's sixth year in college. He played two seasons at Texas A&M, sat out 2015-16 as a transfer, missed 2016-17 with a torn ACL and played this season.
A three-star member of the Gophers' three-man class, Jarvis Omersa (formerly Jarvis Thomas) is a top-200 player who had a handful of other high-major offers.
He's an explosive 6-foot-8, 225-pounder who may need a year to adjust to the college game. Barring another year of roster issues, don't expect to see Omersa log more than 8-10 minutes per game.
The final 2018 recruit, Gabe Kalscheur is another local recruit (Minneapolis) and top-200 player.
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard is a true end-to-end player whom AAU teammate and Duke signee Tre Jones compared to Klay Thompson.
Jamir Harris played nearly 400 minutes as a freshman but rarely made an impact. He looked overmatched and will fight to top his 14.1 minutes per game next year.