Rice transfer Drew Peterson commits to Gophers

Rice Owls guard Drew Peterson (23) drives to the basket around Wichita State Shockers guard Dexter Dennis (0) during the college basketball game on November 25, 2018 at Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. ((Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images))

University of Minnesota basketball coach Richard Pitino finished off his 2020 spring recruiting cycle on Monday by landing one of the most versatile players on the transfer mark.

Rice transfer Drew Peterson announced his commitment to Pitino and the Gophers Monday night on social media. The news comes just hours after Hopkins basketball star Kerwin Walton had the Gophers as a finalist, but announced his commitment to North Carolina.

Peterson played in all 32 games last season, starting 31 and averaged 11.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for Rice. He was their third leading scorer.

He recently took a virtual tour with Pitino and the Gophers. He can't currently come to campus due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Under current NCAA transfer rules, Peterson would have to sit out next season. But he’s expected to file a waiver for immediate eligibility as the NCAA also ponders allowing a one-time transfer for college athletes without penalty.

Peterson, at 6-8 and 185 pounds, has a game that’s very similar to former Gophers’ star Amir Coffey, who is now in the NBA with the L.A. Clippers. Peterson averaged 3.5 assists per game, had 112 assists last season and also gives the Gophers a perimeter threat. He shot 41.1 percent from the field last season, including 32.8 percent from the perimeter.

Peterson joins the spring class of 7-foot center Liam Robbins, a transfer from Drake who was one of the most sought after big men on the transfer market. Robbins, the nephew of associate head coach Ed Conroy, will also file a waiver for immediate eligibility. Pitino also added former Western Michigan forward Brandon Johnson, a grad transfer who will be immediately eligible.

Peterson, Robbins and Johnson join already signed incoming freshmen Jamal Mashubrn Jr. and Martice Mitchell to round out Pitino’s 2020 recruiting class.