Gophers basketball adds Howard guard Elijah Hawkins from NCAA transfer portal

Dawson Garcia #3 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers celebrates his three-point basket against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the first half of the game at Williams Arena on December 11, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Bulldogs defeated the Golden (David Berding / Getty Images)

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team needed some backcourt help going into the 2023-24 season, and it appears they got it on Monday.

Elijah Hawkins, a guard out of Howard University, announced his commitment to Ben Johnson and the Gophers out of the NCAA transfer portal. Hawkins will join Pepperdine transfer Mike Mitchell Jr. in the backcourt next season, with Braeden Carrington the only returning guard on the roster. Ta’Lon Cooper and Jaden Henley transferred after a 9-22 season, and Taurus Samuels is out of eligibility.

Listed at 5-11 and 152 pounds, Hawkins led Howard with 13 points and six assists per game last season. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game on a team that finished 22-13 and went to its first NCAA Tournament in program history. He started 55 career games with the Bison and shot 46.6 percent from the perimeter last season.

The Gophers beat out Texas, Ole Miss, Wichita State, Utah, Utah State, Seton Hall and several other programs that had reached out to Hawkins after he entered the NCAA transfer portal.



Braeden Carrington / Mike Mitchell Jr. / Elijah Hawkins / Isaiah Ihnen / Cam Christie


Dawson Garcia / Parker Fox / Joshua Ola-Joseph / Kadyn Betts


Pharrel Payne / Jack Wilson

The Gophers return a nucleus that includes Dawson Garcia, Pharrel Payne, Joshua Ola-Joseph and Carrington. Kadyn Betts redshirted, and they’re hoping to have Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen back healthy after each missed the last two seasons with knee injuries.

Johnson still has one scholarship available for next season, and is likely looking to add a scoring wing to the roster.

It's a critical year for Johnson and the Gophers. In his first two seasons, he's 22-39 overall and 6-33 in Big Ten play.