Men’s hoops gets Northwestern’s Johnson to come home

Former Northwestern guard Ben Johnson will transfer to Minnesota’s basketball program as a walk-on for the 2002-03 season, the Star Tribune reported Tuesday.

Johnson, who attended DeLaSalle high school in Minneapolis, chose the Gophers over Michigan State and Missouri. He will retain two years of eligibility.

“I think in my junior year, if everybody stays, we have a good chance of competing for the Big Ten title,” Johnson said. “I think we can compete with Michigan State and be nationally ranked.”

Johnson is the third Division I player to transfer to Minnesota this offseason, joining Brent Lawson (St. Francis, Pa.) and Matt Smriga (Kent State).

The championships will be held Thursday through Sunday in Eugene, Ore.

Potter and Gerding will be competing in the 400-meter run. Each qualified for the event by running under the 46.05 qualifying time.

Schmitt will be competing in the discus.

“The United States is seen as one of the top nations in track and field,” Phil Lundin, Gopher men’s track and field coach, said. “The ability to have members of our teams qualify for the US nationals is exceptional.”

Nimtz, Schmitt honored

Senior track and field athletes Corinne Nimtz and Aubrey Schmitt were selected to the 2001 Verizon Academic All-America Spring Women’s At-Large Second Team.

Nimtz, a distance runner, has maintained a GPA of 3.93 while majoring in business. She has competed in the NCAA championships three times.

Schmitt, a thrower, earned her second consecutive academic All-America team. A five-time Big Ten shot put champion and four-time All-American, Schmitt posted a 3.53 GPA while majoring in biology. She finished her career as the first woman in Minnesota history to compete in three events at the NCAA outdoor championships and the winner of the Big Ten Medal of Honor.

Steidl swipes third

Center fielder Sam Steidl was named to his third freshman All-America team, taking second-team honors from Baseball America.

Steidl joins Ohio State’s Doug Deeds as the only two Big Ten representatives. Steidl finished the season with a .401 average, helping the Gophers to the conference tournament title.