After missing last season due to a torn ACL, Davonte Fitzgerald was granted a sixth year of eligibility, meaning he has two seasons of eligibility remaining. Fitzgerald was forced to sit out the 2015-16 season because of transfer requirements. After missing the last two seasons, Fitzgerald will finally be able to suit up for the Gophers this coming season.
Fitzgerald transferred to the Minnesota following two seasons at Texas A&M, where he averaged 3.5 points per game as a sophomore and 7.3 per game as a freshman. He also recorded 94 rebounds and 22 blocks during his two seasons in College Station.
Fitzgerald was expected to play a key role for the Gophers last season. Now healthy, he will likely provide steady minutes off the bench for head coach Richard Pitino. With the emergence of Amir Coffey, Gophers fans will likely see a smaller role than expected for Fitzgerald.
At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, Fitzgerald will provide some physicality off the bench. He will also provide experience and toughness, which is always significant to add. Fitzgerald is a reliable weapon to count on coming off the bench. Most of the guys coming off the bench don’t have the same amount of experience as Fitzgerald.
Pitino was very pleased to find out that he’ll be able to count on Fitzgerald for two more years.
“I am extremely excited and grateful that the NCAA has granted Davonte a sixth year,” Gophers coach Richard Pitino said in a statement. “He is a terrific member of our basketball program and deserves some good fortune. I am so happy for Davonte and can’t wait to get him back on the court.”
Pitino now has the luxury of adding Fitzgerald to a roster that won 24 games, finished fourth in the Big Ten standings while earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. By the way Pitino returns everyone from that team but Akeem Springs.
With Fitzgerald in the fold for two more years, and with added incoming recruits and the established young talent already on the roster, Minnesota could be a mainstay challenger for the Big Ten Title for years to come.