Gophers, Ben Johnson land commitment from 5-star center Dennis Evans

California high school basketball star and 5-star center Dennis Evans announced his verbal commitment to Ben Johnson and the Gophers on Monday.

Ben Johnson is entering his second season as the University of Minnesota men’s basketball coach, and on Monday he landed the program’s biggest verbal commitment in nearly 20 years.

That’s both literally, and physically. Dennis Evans, a 7-1 center out of California and the No. 31-ranked overall prospect nationally in the 2023 class, announced on Instagram on Monday his choice to play basketball for Johnson and the Gophers next season. Evans had scholarship offers from several programs across the country, and had a final two of Minnesota and TCU.

"It's all about comfort," Evans said in a commitment video posted to Instagram Monday night. "Next year, I'll be a Golden Gopher at the University of Minnesota."

Kansas had also been in communication, but it was too late. Evans took his official visit to Minnesota over Homecoming week, which included attending the Gophers football team’s 20-10 loss to Purdue, a "Stripe Out" at Huntington Bank Stadium.

Evans is Minnesota’s highest-rated recruit since Kris Humphries in 2003, and their highest-rated center since Joel Przybilla. When former Cretin-Derham Hall standout Daniel Oturu committed to the Gophers in 2019, he was a consensus 4-star recruit. Evans is Johnson’s first 5-star recruit, and he joins 4-star Cameron Christie in the 2023 class. Kadyn Betts originally committed to the 2023 class, but reclassified and is now a freshman for the Gophers. One of Evans' best friends and past teammates is also current Gophers' freshman Jaden Henley.

Evans’ commitment takes the sting off the Gophers and Johnson missing out on Nolan Winter. The Lakeville North standout and legacy recruit officially visited Minnesota in early September before giving his verbal commitment to play at Wisconsin.

Evans' commitment can become official as early as next month, when the early signing period starts for next year's freshmen. Until he signs, Johnson cannot comment publicly on recruits.