Skip to main content

Drexel grad transfer Alihan Demir to make 'immediate impact,' says Gophers coach Richard Pitino

Alihan Demir is 6-foot-9 and can handle the basketball.

It's all lip service until it happens, but it's encouraging nonetheless that head coach Richard Pitino is confident in grad transfer Alihan Demir playing valuable minutes for the Gophers next season. 

"We are extremely excited about welcoming Alihan to our basketball program," said Pitino in a statement. "With his skill, size and versatility I expect him to make an immediate impact. He will do great things on and off the court."

Demir, a 6-foot-9 forward arrives at the University of Minnesota after two years as a standout for Drexel University, where he a third team all-conference selection this past season, averaging 14.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. 

Before Drexel, Demir played one season at Central Wyoming College. He also played in his home country of Turkey for the nation's Under 16 and Under 18 Ankara championship teams.  

"In Europe, they like to make big guys handle the ball, so at my high school, I would basically play every position," Demir said in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer in November. "I think that has helped my game here because I can do some down-low things but I can also dribble drive, shoot a little bit."

Ankara is the capital of the Republic of Turkey and has a population of 4.6 million, more than a million people larger than the entire Twin Cities metro area. 

Pitino's 2019 signing class also includes incoming freshmen Isaiah Ihnen (Germany), Tre' Williams (Dallas, Texas) and Sam Freeman (Dallas, Texas). 

All of them could wind up playing valuable minutes in 2019-20 considering Pitino has to find replacements for Amir Coffey (NBA Draft), Isaiah Washington (transfer), Dupree McBrayer (graduation), Jordan Murphy (graduation) and Matz Stockman (graduation). 

The roster could be stabilized by point guard Marcus Carr, who sat out last season after transferring from Pittsburgh, and Eric Curry, who has missed the majority of the last two years due to injuries. Payton Willis, a transfer from Vanderbilt, could also contribute now that he's eligible to play.

Next Up

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.


7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.


2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.


Richard Pitino

Gophers silence rumors with contract extension for Pitino

Pitino is now under contract through the end of the 2023-24 season.

Isaiah Ihnen

Gophers land 4-star German recruit over Tennessee, Texas

He's considered one of the top 100 recruits in the Class of 2019.

Kadiatou Sissoko

5-star recruit from Paris transfers to play for Gophers

She's transferring from Syracuse to Minnesota.

Sam Freeman

Texas big man Sam Freeman commits to Gophers

He's apparently a rebounding machine and plays solid defense.

Richard Pitino's name tossed in Arkansas coaching rumor mill

Reporters are tracking flights from Arkansas to Minneapolis.

USC wide receiver Randal Grimes transfers to Gophers

He's 6-foot-4 and is said to have incredible athleticism.