Ben Johnson's work on the recruiting trail continues to be focused on in-state talent as Cottage Grove's Pharrel Payne announced his commitment to the Minnesota Gopher men's basketball team on Sunday afternoon.
Payne is a 6-foot-9 forward in the 2022 class that starred for Park of Cottage Grove last season. Payne averaged 14.8 points in 20 games and shows promise on both ends of the floor.
With the ability to get to the rim and defend the paint, Payne received a scholarship offer with the Gophers and stood out with the Minnesota Select AAU team this summer.
Although he also had offers from Texas A&M, St. Louis, and Appalachian State, Payne decided to stay home with the Gophers.
Payne is the second in-state recruit for Johnson, who took over the head coaching job for the Gophers in April. Payne joins Park Center guard Braeden Carrington in next year's class and should form a solid nucleus for the Gophers beginning with the 2022-23 season.