Back in the summer, the Gopher men's basketball team had the potential for a loaded starting five. With the addition of transfers Liam Robbins (Drake) and Both Gach (Utah), the Gophers had a group that could compete in the Big Ten but had plenty of obstacles before that could happen.
On Wednesday, the final hurdle fell as Gach was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. With Robbins also being granted a waiver last month, the Gophers will not only have a strong starting five but something that has plagued Richard Pitino's teams in previous years: depth.
Minnesota's starting five will be the focus of its team. The Gophers lost Daniel Oturu to the NBA but saw Marcus Carr decide to return to school after he initially entered the draft.
Carr's return is a huge boost as he was named to the All-Big Ten Preseason team on Tuesday. After Carr finished second on the team with 15.4 points per game, he'll return with Gabe Kalscheur (11.6 ppg) for a backcourt that can fill it up.
The biggest difference, however, could be felt in the frontcourt. Oturu was a machine for the Gophers last season averaging 20.1 ppg and 11.3 rpg, but Minnesota could help replace that production with their trio of transfers.
Gach, who starred at Austin High School in southern Minnesota, is a high-flyer who averaged 10.7 ppg for Utah last season and can become the type of athletic wing the Gophers had when Amir Coffey shined two seasons ago. The Gophers will rely on Robbins (14.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg with Drake) and Western Michigan transfer Brandon Johnson (15.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg) to add some muscle and help fill out the starting five.
With so much talent in the starting lineup, the Gophers will suddenly have options off the bench. This starts with a strong recruiting class that contains three top-200 prospects in David Mutaf, Jamal Mashburn Jr., and Martice Mitchell.
While Mashburn figures to be the primary backup to Carr, Mutaf could also have an immediate role due to his experience playing professionally in Turkey. Mitchell is also an intriguing addition to the frontcourt with a 6-foot-10, 190-pound frame.
The addition of talent should mesh well with what the Gophers already have as Eric Curry played a reserve role with the Gophers 2016-17 tournament team and players such as Jarvis Omersa and Tre' Williams could take a step forward with a larger opportunity.
Putting everything together, the Gophers have a roster that can withstand a potential injury or impact in a season where COVID-19 figures to play a key role. With several options on the table, the official look of the Gophers' roster figures to help them contend for a tournament spot this season.