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Reports: Pitino, Gophers release Nwankwo from commitment

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Multiple media reports indicate that big man Jonathan Nwankwo was released from his letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Minnesota.

The 6-foot-10, 245-pound post had signed with Gophers coach Richard Pitino during the early signing period last November. But sources told the Pioneer Press' Marcus Fuller that Nwankwo was having trouble getting admitted to school.

Nwankwo was set to enroll at Minnesota next month, but the Star Tribune reports his NCAA clearinghouse process was still ongoing. So rather than continue with the process, Minnesota gave Nwankwo the opportunity to pursue other options.

He is now free to sign anywhere and play next season.

The news leaves the Gophers with a six-member recruiting class, but a major void in the middle.

The Daily Gopher notes that Nwankwo's absence could prove to be significant. The blog notes that Nwankwo was expected to pick up minutes at a position of need next season.

Minnesota is thin inside after losing seniors Mo Walker and Elliot Eliason.

The Gophers could still look to fill Nwankwo's scholarship spot, and there's some talk they may.

Pitino's recruiting class includes guards Kevin Dorsey, Jarvis Johnson and Dupree McBrayer; forwards Ahmad Gilbert and Jordan Murphy; and center Reggie Lynch.

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