The Golden Gophers lost some post depth this week when it was announced that 6-foot-8 forward Davonte Fitzgerald was transferring from Minnesota for his final season. It was later reported by ESPN that Fitzgerald settled on Stephen F. Austin to play out his senior season.
The dynamic and athletic Atlanta-native averaged 13 minutes of play, 3.7 points per game and 2.4 rebounds in 31 games this season. His strongest game this season came in a 94-80 loss against Iowa in which he scored 16 points on 6-8 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 27 minutes of play.
Richard Pitino released a statement on Fitzgerald’s departure. You can read that statement below.
“Davonte has been an outstanding member of our program through his time here, and I’m sure he will go on to great things both next year and beyond in his career.”
Stephen F. Austin will be Fitzgerald’s third school in his collegiate career. He played his first two seasons at Texas A&M but saw his minutes dwindle his sophomore season to just 9.6 a game. He moved on to Minnesota following the 2014-15 season.
After sitting out the 2015-16 season due to transfer rules, Fitzgerald suffered a severe setback by tearing his ACL in October 2016 during the first week of practice. That caused Fitzgerald to miss the 2016-17 season. He was fully healthy this season but struggled to find a rhythm after sitting out for two years and coming off a major injury. He showed some flashes, but it was unfortunate for Fitzgerald and the Golden Gophers that his true potential never seemed to be realized.
With Fitzgerald’s departure, Minnesota now has two scholarships to fill for next season. According to Rivals, Minnesota is currently ranked no. 41 in 2018’s recruiting rankings and has some post help coming with no. 56 Daniel Oturu and three-star 6-foot-7 forward Jarvis Thomas-Omersa coming to Minneapolis in a few months. Expect Minnesota to be active in the graduate transfer market to try and fill a need here.
Disappointing news out of Minneapolis that Davonte Fitzgerald’s career at Minnesota is ending without really ever getting going, but look for Fitzgerald to do some nice things for Stephen F. Austin. With the Aggies returning their top 3 scorers from an NCAA Tournament team next season, it is reasonable to expect to see Fitzgerald playing in his first NCAA Tournament next March.