Gophers forward Dawson Garcia granted eligibility for 2022-23 season

Gophers forward Dawson Garcia was granted immediate eligibility for the 2022-23 season by the NCAA last Friday. (University of Minnesota Athletics)

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team got some good news from the NCAA last Friday: Dawson Garcia has been granted immediate eligibility for the 2022-23 season.

Under the NCAA’s current transfer rules, Garcia needed a medical hardship waiver to be eligible this season after transferring home to Minnesota from North Carolina. Garcia  played in 16 games and started 12 for the Tar Heels last season before leaving school to come home and be closer to family, as he had relatives dealing with COVID-19 issues.

Garcia used his one-time transfer without penalty to leave Marquette after one season and head to North Carolina. He left the program after coach Steve Wojchiechowski was fired. Last Friday’s news is a major development for the Gophers, with Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen out for the second straight season with knee injuries. 

"We're obviously very excited to have Dawson on the court this season," coach Ben Johnson said in a statement. "I want to personally thank Director of Compliance Jeremiah Carter for all his hard work in this process. Dawson is an experienced competitor who will make an immediate impact on the court. We're looking forward to building on what he accomplished this summer into the season."

Garcia, at 6-11 and 235 pounds, is likely a starter this season that will include a frontcourt of freshman Pharrel Payne, top returning scorer Jamison Battle and center Treyton Thompson. In 16 games at North Carolina last season, Garcia averaged nine points and 5.5 rebounds, shooting 40.5 percent from the field.

In his freshman season at Marquette, Garcia started 27 games and lead the Golden Eagles with 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He led Big East freshmen in scoring and rebounding. The former Prior Lake star was a McDonald’s All-American in 2020. He’s the first McDonald’s All-American to play for the Gophers since Kris Humphries.

Minnesota opens the 2022-23 season with an exhibition game against St. Olaf on Nov. 2. The season-opener is against Western Michigan, set for Nov. 7 at Williams Arena.