Gophers: What will the 2024-25 roster look like?

Dawson Garcia #3 celebrates with Cam Christie #24 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second half at Williams Arena on February 03, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Golden Gophers defeated the Wildcats 75-66 in (David Berding / Getty Images)

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball season came to an end Sunday in a 76-64 loss to Indiana State in the second round of the NIT.

The Gophers finished 19-15 overall, and 9-11 in Big Ten play. Ben Johnson’s squad made strides in his third season. Their 19 wins is 10 better than the debacle in 2022-23. The nine league wins is more than in Johnson’s first two seasons combined.

Now, Johnson might be faced with a challenge bigger than anything that happens on the court: Trying to keep the current roster intact for next season. Not everybody will be back – Will Ramberg and Jack Wilson are out of eligibility. Their scholarships are being taken by incoming freshmen Isaac Asuma and Grayson Grove. Johnson may also lose players to the penalty-free transfer portal, or due to them getting NIL offers from other programs they simply can’t say no to.

The Gophers can be an NCAA Tournament team next year if the core returns, and that could factor in more than a few decisions.

Here’s a player-by-player look ahead:

  • Parker Fox – Coming off two knee surgeries, Fox made more of an impact than anyone outside of Johnson could’ve expected. He played in every game, got one start and averaged 5.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. His energy gave the Gophers a spark off the bench. He has a seventh year if he wants to use it. We’ll have to wait to find out.
  • Dawson Garcia – A Second-Team All-Big Ten pick, Garcia led the Gophers in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (6.7) in 31 starts. He said towards the end of the year he’ll make a decision on next season quick. He could return, try to start a pro career or take a better NIL offer.
  • Cam Christie – An All-Big Ten Freshman Team pick, Christie averaged 11.3 points and 3.6 rebounds in 28 starts. He shot 39 percent from the perimeter. His defense and shot selection need work, but he’s also projected to be a late first round pick in the NBA Draft. Will he declare, leave for a bigger NIL deal or return? Having Christie back would be huge for the Gophers next season.
  • Pharrel Payne – He started the last 19 games of the season and was a force inside, averaging 10 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He doesn’t seem like the type to chase bigger NIL money, and his return for a junior season would be big for Minnesota.
  • Mike Mitchell Jr. – The Pepperdine transfer started 24 games this season and averaged 10.2 points, shooting 39.9 percent from the perimeter. He gives the Gophers a backcourt scoring presence that has lacked in the past. He has one year left if he wants to stay.
  • Elijah Hawkins – He started 33 games this season and was one of the best in the nation with 247 assists. He said after the Big Ten Tournament he’s coming back next year, and his return might keep others in Gophers’ jerseys.
  • Braeden Carrington – He played in 29 games and got 10 starts, having a brief absence from the team for mental health reasons. Carrington often drew tough defensive assignments and provided a spark from the perimeter. He has a spot next year if he wants it.
  • Joshua Ola-Joseph – He started in 19 games, but barely saw the floor by the end of the year as his minutes got heavily reduced. He averaged 7.5 points and 2.2 rebounds.
  • Isaiah Ihnen – Coming off two knee surgeries, Ihnen didn’t have the season he would’ve wanted. He saw his minutes heavily reduced after starting seven games, averaging just 3.4 points per game. It’s difficult to see what his role would be next season.
  • Kadyn Betts – He played in just eight games and is a redshirt freshman. We don’t know enough about his game to make a determination on next season.
  • Kris Keinys – He played in just five games as a freshman. Another unknown for next season.

If Johnson and the Gophers are to make another jump next season, they have to find a way to keep the core of Hawkins, Garcia, Payne, Christie and possibly Mitchell next season. If players leave, which somebody will, they have to fill those voids through the transfer portal.