Eric Curry returning for 1 more season with Gophers basketball

Eric Curry #24 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in action against Eugene Omoruyi #5 and Myles Johnson #15 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during a game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 24, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  ((Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images))

Eric Curry doesn’t want to hang up his University of Minnesota jersey just yet.

The Gophers’ senior, who announced at the end of last season he was stepping away from basketball, made his change of heart official on Instagram on Tuesday. He’s coming back to play one more year with the Gophers.

"Let’s have one more last dance Gopher fans," Curry wrote on Instagram.

Curry had his first fully-healthy season since his freshman year last season with the Gophers. He played in all 29 games, averaging 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in nearly 16 minutes per game as a back-up forward/center to Liam Robbins.

"I'm so incredibly excited for Eric," Gophers coach Ben Johnson said. "I'm happy with how he is feeling physically first and foremost, and that he is hungry to compete and lead for one more year. I know he is pumped to be able to wear the Maroon and Gold and we are just as thrilled to have him back with us."

Curry has an extra year of eligibility under NCAA guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He helped lead Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament in his freshman season, then sat out the entire 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons due to knee injuries. He also missed the first 12 games of the 2018-19 season after having arthroscopic knee surgery.

Curry has played in 78 career games and is averaging 18.2 minutes, 4.6 points and four rebounds per game. He’ll add a veteran presence on an otherwise overhauled roster since Johnson replaced Richard Pitino as head coach.

Curry said at the end of last season he had planned to retire from playing, and had taken a position as a graduate assistant on Johnson’s staff. He’ll also get the chance to play with one of his best friends, Payton Willis, who transferred back to Minnesota after spending last season at College of Charleston.