Gophers men’s basketball 2022-23 season preview

The Gophers look to improve on last year’s 13-17 record and a tie for last place finish in the Big Ten.

Williams Arena as seen on Monday, June 17, 2019.

Tony Saunders

Williams Arena as seen on Monday, June 17, 2019.

by Rogan Isbell

Following a first round loss in the Big Ten tournament to Penn State, the Gophers men’s basketball team will look to make improvements in their second season under head coach Ben Johnson.

The Gophers will graduate eight players from last season’s team, including team captain Eric Curry. This season, they will have a young rotation led by junior Jamison Battle, who led the team in points (17.5) and rebounds (6.3) per-game last season.

Four freshmen will join the team next season, headlined by Braeden Carrington. The Park Center High School graduate won Minnesota Mr. Basketball, averaging 17.8 points per game in his senior season, and will look to now give the Gophers a spark of offense and three point shooting.

“[Our freshmen] are going to compete, they’re eager learners, zero ego … It’s fun to plug them in and see what they can and can’t do,” head coach Ben Johnson said. “We’ve got a group where each one of those guys brings something a little different, and they all have versatility, but they’re all pretty skilled, they should all be ready to go physically, they’re just enjoying competing.”

The new-look Gophers also added three players from the transfer portal in the offseason. Headlined by former McDonald’s All-American forward Dawson Garcia, the Gophers also added Morehead State point guard Ta’Lon Cooper and graduate transfer Dartmouth guard Taurus Samuels.

Minnesota will need more offense this season, as they were second to last in the Big Ten in points per game as a team last season (67.0). They were also last in rebounding within the conference and gave up lots of second chance points. 

The Gophers’ Big Ten opponents and locations have been recently announced. They will play a home and away series with Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Purdue, Rutgers and Wisconsin, and they will travel to Michigan State, Northwestern and Ohio State, but host Indiana, Iowa and Penn State.

Before conference play gets underway, Minnesota has had four non-conference opponents announced – Mississippi State, Chicago State, St. Francis (NY) and Alcorn State. With the SoCal Challenge holiday tournament also on the schedule, early signs point toward the Maroon & Gold being battle-tested next season.

The Gophers will look to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2019, when they lost in the Round of 32 to Michigan State.