Needless to say, the last three months have been eventful for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Near the end of the season, Minnesota dismissed senior guard Carlos Morris and suspended Dupree McBrayer, Nate Mason and Kevin Dorsey. The roster upheaval soured the few late season bright spots (back-to-back victories over Maryland and Rutgers).
Dorsey opted to transfer, amid the suspension and controversial, sexual video briefly posted on his Twitter and Instagram accounts. According to Marcus Fuller at the Pioneer Press, Dorsey's family contends his phone was stolen and the videos posted without his knowledge or consent. Apparently, some video evidence exists to support this claim, but police are still investigating.
Dorsey's departure smells like a mutual decision between the University and Dorsey's camp. Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune covered it, and that's what I gather from Richard Pitino's quotes. Dorsey is from Port Tobacco, Maryland and as a 4-star recruit, did receive an offer from Maryland, but it's unclear where he'll land at the moment. Either way, it was probably determined that Dorsey needed a fresh start to distance himself from this incident and attempt to move forward.
Looking forward, Pitino will have quite a few new pieces to integrate. (Counting them all, he'll have six new guys on the roster: two transfers who sat out last year, three freshmen, and one graduate transfer who's eligible to play right away.)
One of the transfers who sat this year, Reggie Lynch, will add depth to the frontcourt. Pretty much Bakary Konate, Jorday Murphy and Joey King comprised Minnesota's frontcourt in 2015-2016. With King's graduation, Lynch will be a welcome contributor. Davonte Fitzgerald, the other transfer who sat last year, brings athleticism and size to the perimeter.
Three freshmen, Amir Coffey, Michael Hurt and Eric Curry were coveted prospects, and all factor into Pitino's plans next season. Coffey, in particular, is a smooth 6'7" point forward and could share some of the ballhandling duties with Nate Mason, especially now that Dorsey is transferring. Mason off the ball, on occasion, could add a wrinkle to the offense; Mason's a good spot-up shooter, which the new guys notwithstanding was a rare commodity on this season's team.
With Dorsey's release, Pitino had another scholarship to offer, and found Akeem Springs from University Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Springs can play immediately, due to the graduate transfer rule. Milwaukee beat Wisconsin last season, but ended up finishing 20-13 overall, it was a bit disappointing for the Panthers. According to Amelia Rayno at the Star Tribune, Pitino's excited, among other things, about Springs's leadership.
Incidentally, Pitino had a close look at Springs when the Gophers played Milwaukee during the regular season. Milwaukee beat Minnesota 74-65 and Springs had 15 points and seven rebounds in that game. (In case you were wondering, he had eight points and five rebounds in the Panther victory over the Badgers.)
Roster turnover and many new arrivals could mean good things for Minnesota. In other words, different is good, especially considering last season. The Gophers need depth, talent and experience, and the six new pieces bring a mix of all those. Pitino doesn't expect any more roster changes, so the dust appears to have settled...although, in this day and age, who really knows?
If it has, in fact settled, then that's good because it's time to get to work shaping the roster; a big leap is expected next season.