Pitino's first recruiting class nets six with latest signings


The first recruiting class under Richard Pitino in the Gopher men's basketball program appears to be complete.

Thursday the Gophers received a commitment from Columbia Heights native Zach Lofton. Lofton, a junior, announced that he will transfer to Minnesota from Illinois State.

The 6'4 guard averaged 11.3 points per game for the Redbirds. According to the Star Tribune, Lofton was suspended for the final three games of the season for undisclosed reasons.

Because of the NCAA's transfer rules, it's more than likely Lofton will have to sit out next season, but he is expected to apply for a waiver.

Mali native and 6 foot 11 inch center Bakary Konate also committed to the Gophers. His coach, Luke Barnwell, said Konate wanted to commit to Minnesota immediately following his February visit.

Konate comes to Minnesota from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. He is likely to be the Gophers' center for the future.

“He’s actually a really good shooter,” Barnwell told the Pioneer Press. “He can make threes and is a confident shooter. But his lower body has to get stronger for him to be more successful around the rim, offensively.”

The two commitments brought the Gopher's total to six. Gaston Diedhiou, Josh Martin, Carlos Morris and Nate Mason also have signed to play basketball for Pitino at Minnesota.

247 Sports has the Gophers' 2014 class ranked eighth in the Big Ten. While that might not be impressive, Down with Goldy reports all five freshman are extremely athletic and should be able to get up and down the court, fitting the type of scheme Pitino wants to run.

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