Przybilla says he’s still a Gopher

David La

In a brief media address an hour before Wednesday’s practice, center Joel Przybilla announced his return to the University’s men’s basketball team after a two-day hiatus.
“I’d like to thank coach (Dan) Monson and my teammates for letting me take two days off and letting me have some time off while I deal with some personal issues,” Przybilla said.
The sophomore from Monticello was allowed a day-to-day leave of absence by Monson on Sunday.
Przybilla did not attend the Gophers’ exhibition game at Williams Arena on Monday, a move that touched off numerous rumors about his status with the team.
“The past nine months have been very difficult for my teammates and I,” Przybilla said. “We have had tremendous pressures and a lot of scrutiny from fellow students, the media and the general population.”
Beginning with allegations of academic fraud in March, the basketball program went through a number of major changes.
Coach Clem Haskins’ contract was bought out in June, ending his 13-year tenure at Minnesota.
In October, University President Mark Yudof announced the team would be barred from postseason play.
While he alluded to those developments as part of the personal issues that troubled him recently, Przybilla maintains that he is ready to move forward as a Gopher.
“I hope to end all speculation. I’m proud to be a member of the basketball team and that I’m a student at the University of Minnesota. I’m very pleased with coach Monson and his staff. I just want to put this distraction behind me.”
After making his statement, Przybilla excused himself to prepare for practice and took no questions.
Monson said Przybilla’s situation was not life-threatening, and a Tuesday meeting with Przybilla and his parents confirmed the matter was resolved.
“For these kids, there has been a lot more going on than the normal student-athletes,” Monson said. “I’m really pleased with how these kids have gone through this and I think they are going to be better adults for battling through all the adversity that’s gone on.”

David La Vaque covers football and basketball and welcomes comments at [email protected]