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Updated: March 5th, 2014 2:24pm
Oto Osenieks will forego final year of eligibility with Gophers

Oto Osenieks will forego final year of eligibility with Gophers

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
Email | Twitter

A strange bit of news from the Gophers men's basketball program, which on Wednesday announced that redshirt junior Oto Osenieks will forego his senior season because of a knee injury.

He'll be honored Sunday for Senior Day and then will not play next season for the Gophers. The release says he'll be involved helping with the team still, perhaps as some sort of graduate assistant. The Gophers said in the release that Osenieks will be "assisting and supporting our team in day-to-day operations. Oto wants to pursue a career in coaching and he will be a great help to our team next year."

The University will seek a medical non-counter waiver for Osenieks.

It's always dangerous to read between the lines, but it seems possible there are other factors at play in this decision. The Gophers previously had downplayed the severity of Osenieks' injury, so it is curious that it's already been determind he'll be unable to compete next season. 

But perhaps he saw that it just wasn't going to happen for him as a player, and he wants to get a head start on a potential coaching career. 

The move frees up a scholarship for Richard Pitino and the Gophers. They'll have three available for 2014, according to the Star Tribune's Amelia Rayno.


Here's the release:

University of Minnesota forward Oto Osenieks, who has missed the last two games due to knee injury, will be recognized during the Golden Gophers' senior day ceremony prior to Sunday's game against Penn State. Osenieks is completing his fourth year at the University and has one year of athletic eligibility remaining.

"Oto has been a joy to work with and be around," said Minnesota head men's basketball coach Richard Pitino. "Unfortunately, this injury will limit his ability to continue playing beyond this season. We look forward to having Oto assisting and supporting our team in day-to-day operations. Oto wants to pursue a career in coaching and he will be a great help to our team next year."

The University will seek a medical non-counter waiver on Osenieks's behalf.

The Riga, Latvia native is majoring in business management with a minor in sports management, and is on track to receive his bachelor's degree in May.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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