Men’s hoops inks Oregon St. transfer

Tim Klobuchar

Although it didn’t solve any problems for next year, the Gophers basketball team signed a recruit Monday who could help significantly in two years.
John-Blair Bickerstaff, a 6-foot-6-inch sophomore from Oregon State, has signed a national letter of intent and will transfer to Minnesota. The NCAA requires that he sit out next season, after which he’ll have two years of eligibility.
Bickerstaff, the son of Washington Wizards coach Bernie Bickerstaff, started 23 games for the Beavers in 1997, averaging 8.6 points per game. He also led Oregon State with 131 rebounds and 59 offensive rebounds.
Bickerstaff and two other Beavers players, forward Nick Greene and Ronnie Walton, announced Wednesday they were leaving the program. Greene and Walton reportedly left to find more playing time, and coach Eddie Payne said Bickerstaff was transferring for personal reasons.
Gophers coach Clem Haskins’ friendship with the elder Bickerstaff might have helped him land the Denver native.
“John-Blair is a very talented player whom we are excited to have join our program,” Haskins said. “I have known his family for many years, and I think he will be a good fit for our team.”
The late signing period ends May 15.
Atwell signs with Lions
Former Gophers wide receiver Tutu Atwell has signed a free agent contract with the Detroit Lions.
Atwell, who holds the school’s career records in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown receptions, joins quarterback Cory Sauter as ex-Gophers free agent signees. Sauter signed with Arizona on Sunday.
Defensive end Lamanzer Williams was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round, and wide receiver Ryan Thelwell was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh.
The Lions’ starting receivers are Pro Bowler Herman Moore and Johnnie Morton. They also drafted Virginia’s Germane Crowell in the second round Saturday.