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Amir Coffey Enters NBA Draft, Leaves Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Gophers got some tough news.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Michigan State vs Minnesota Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers got some tough news earlier this week as the program learned that star guard Amir Coffey would not be returning to school after declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft. He leaves the Gophers after building himself quite a legacy with the program.

During his three seasons with the program, Coffey started 87 games and averaged 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. He also led the Gophers to two trips to the NCAA Tournament, including a surprising trip last March after Minnesota rebounded. The team was even able to make it to the Round of 32 after defeating Louisville.

For Coffey, it’s unclear what his chances are at the next level. Most project him as being either a late second round selection or an undrafted free agent. It’s largely going to depend on if a particular franchise finds him intriguing enough to take a shot on draft night. The bottom half of the second round is notoriously difficult to project and things will be no different for Coffey.

On the other side, it’s hard to describe this as anything other than a huge loss for Richard Pitino and his staff. Coffey has arguably been the program’s best player over the last three seasons and he won’t be an easy player to replace. Minnesota returns talent elsewhere in the lineup with players like Daniel Oturu and Eric Curry, but Coffey’s departure will leave a big gap in the lineup.

Minnesota will certainly find a way to move on in the weeks and months to come, but for now, Gopher fans will have to deal with moving forward without their star guard.