The Minnesota Golden Gophers got some tough news this week as fans learned the program would be losing guard Payton Willis to transfer. He started 25 games last season and played in more than 65 percent of the team’s minutes. Richard Pitino and his staff will have a their hands full in finding a replacement.
Minnesota guard Payton Willis will graduate and transfer, a source tells @247Sports. Averaged 8.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG and 2.0 APG this past season.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 9, 2020
Before arriving at Minnesota, Willis spent two seasons playing for Vanderbilt. He saw his fair share of action there, but failed to play in even 50 percent of the team’s minutes during his time with the Commodores. As such, he transferred to Minnesota and sat out the 2018-’19 season before playing last year.
During last season, Willis was a productive player for Minnesota. He played in 27 games and averaged 8.9 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. Notably, Willis scored double-digits in 9 of the team’s final 10 games of the season and projected to have a real role in the team’s lineup moving forward.
With his departure, Minnesota now has some major questions. What once looked like a building roster now looks shaky. Marcus Carr and Daniel Oturu have already declared for the 2020 NBA Draft and there are few certainties around those two. We will have to see what Pitino can find out of the new faces.