Gophers silence rumors with contract extension for Richard Pitino

Pitino is now under contract through the end of the 2023-24 season.
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Richard Pitino has agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Gophers that keeps him signed through the end of the 2023-24 college basketball season. 

Pitino, 36, led the Gophers to a win in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 this season – the third 20-win season in his six years as head coach. 

"My family and I have loved living in the Twin Cities the last six years. We have met so many wonderful, supportive people. It's an honor to be able to continue to lead this Gopher basketball program," said Pitino in a statement. "I look forward to continuing to move this special program forward."

Ultimately, the new deal helped silence rumors that Pitino was among the names being considered for the University of Arkansas men's basketball coaching job. 

About the same time Pitino's extension was announced, Arkansas issued a release saying it had hired Eric Musselman as head coach. Musselman led Nevada to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last four seasons and will now lead the Razorbacks 30 years after he was a 23-year-old assistant coach for the Timberwolves on his father Bill Musselman's staff. 

For Pitino, he's entering his seventh season as head coach of the Gophers and is facing big questions about his starting lineup and depth next season. 

With All-Big Ten power forward Jordan Murphy graduating, leading scorer Amir Coffey entering the NBA Draft, and Dupree McBrayer and Matz Stockman finishing their playing careers, Pitino has to replace three starters and will likely have to rely on youth at the big man positions. 

Penciled in as starters next season are Marcus Carr (point guard), Gabe Kalscheur (shooting guard) and Daniel Oturu (center). After that it's anyone's guess as to who might start at small forward and power forward. 

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