Gophers basketball to play in Asheville Championship Nov. 12-14

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team announced Wednesday it will play in the inaugural Asheville Championship, set for Nov. 12 and 14 in North Carolina.

The Gophers will be in a field that includes Western Kentucky, Princeton and South Carolina. The tournament was created by KemperLesnik, which operates the Maui Invitational in Hawaii and the McDonald’s All American basketball games, which feature the top high school talent in the country every year.

Minnesota will open the Asheville Championship against Western Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 12. The tournament will air on the ESPN family of networks. Start times will be announced at a later date.

The Gophers have previously played Western Kentucky twice, winning both both match-ups in 20014 and 2010. The Gophers are 0-2 against South Carolina, but haven't played the Gamecocks since 1978 and they are 3-0 all-time against Princeton, winning the last meeting in 2004. 

Ben Johnson enters his first season as Minnesota’s head coach with virtually an entirely new roster on the court. The only players back from the 2020-21 squad are Isaiah Ihnen, who recently suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice, and Eric Curry.


When Ben Johnson was hired back in March, his top priority was keeping the top in-state talent in Minnesota. That hadn’t happened, until Wednesday. Braeden Carrington, a shooting guard out of Park Center and one of Johnson’s top recruiting targets in the class of 2022, announced his verbal commitment to Minnesota on social media.

Carrington was wrapping up an official visit with Minnesota on Wednesday. A 6-3 guard, Carrington led the Pirates last season with nearly 19 points per game and is one of the top shooters in Minnesota’s high school class of 2022.