Boone given sixth year; Buckeyes come to town

Gophers senior Adam Boone has been out the whole year with a torn biceps tendon.

Bob Wothe

The long wait is over and it’s now official: Adam Boone will be back for Minnesota’s men’s basketball team.

The senior point guard was finally informed that he has been awarded a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA on Wednesday before Minnesota’s loss to Michigan State.

“It’s a big relief, more than anything,” Boone said. “Waiting in the balance and not knowing was the hardest part.”

Boone tore the biceps tendon in his right arm before the season and underwent surgery Oct. 7.

He decided not to rush back for quality-of-life reasons and put his fate in the NCAA’s hands.

Luckily for him, the NCAA gave him a thumbs-up.

“As many knocks as the NCAA gets,” coach Dan Monson said, “you’ve got to commend them for looking at Adam for who he is and how he epitomizes a student-athlete in their decision.”

It’s not all good news for Minnesota, though, because Boone’s return might force a younger player out of a scholarship.

Because the Gophers are bringing in four freshmen and only three seniors are leaving and with Boone being granted the extra year of eligibility, Minnesota is now slated to have 14 scholarship players on its roster next year.

Something will have to give, because the scholarship limit for men’s basketball teams is 13.

“We’ll worry about that next year,” Monson said. “That’s a perfect world, if everyone makes grades and everyone comes back.”

But while it might end up costing a younger player a scholarship, Boone’s leadership and experience, along with returning Moe Hargrow’s, will likely be beneficial to a team that curently has 10 freshmen.

“You get a sixth-year point guard back – does that help solidify what you’re trying to do?” Monson joked. “We’ll have a very experienced group together, but that’s next year’s team.”

For now, this year’s team will focus on Ohio State (18-8, 7-5 Big Ten), a team that has won six of its last seven games.

The game at Williams Arena on Saturday will be the teams’ second meeting of the season, and the first contest took extra time.

Minnesota finally prevailed 60-56 thanks to five points from Dan Coleman in overtime.

If they’re forced to play overtime again, the Gophers might be the more-prepared team. Monson gave his players Thursday off to rest a team he has called tired multiple times in the last week.

Although Boone won’t be back on the floor Saturday to help spell some of the tired players, he said he’s not cashing in on this year yet.

“We still have a lot of work to get done this year,” Boone said. “I’ve got permission to work slowly back into everything at my comfort level and want to help the team any way I can.”