Richard Pitino, Gophers sign three more for 2014 recruiting class
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Richard Pitino and the Gophers are adding three players to the 2014 signing class.
Gaston Diedhiou, Bakary Konate and Zach Lofton have signed National Letters of Intent, the team announced Monday.
Diedhiou and Konate will join the Gophers for the 2014-15 season, while Lofton will redshirt because of NCAA transfer rules. Lofton played last season at Illinois State.
Minnesota's 2014 signing class also includes guard Nate Mason (Decatur, Ga./Arlington Country Day), guard Carlos Morris (Apalachicola, Fla./Chipola College) and forward Josh Martin (Bothell, Wash./Bothell).
Here's the scouting report of the three additions from the release, which of course will have a team-friendly slant:
Diedhiou, a native of Senegal, is a 6'9" forward who most recently played at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain under head coach Rob Orellana. Diedhiou is an athletic, physical big man who has the potential to impact both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Extremely versatile both on and off the court, he can play multiple positions and even more impressively, he is fluent in three languages (French, Spanish, English).
"We are excited about signing Gaston," Pitino said. "He brings a necessary addition to our frontcourt. His size and potential will be a great asset to our team."
A 6'11" center, Konate will join the Gophers following a standout career at the Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan. Under the tutelage of head coach Kyle Lindsted and assistant coach Luke Barnwell, Konate is praised by the Minnesota coaches for his strong work ethic and athleticism. The Mali native can shoot from distance, but is also lauded for his rebounding and shot blocking ability.
"Bakary has tremendous potential - the sky is the limit for him," Pitino said. "He's a great athlete and shot blocker which is vital in our system. His best days of basketball are certainly ahead of him."
Zach Lofton, transfer from Illinois State
A St. Paul native, Lofton returns home to the Twin Cities following a standout season at Illinois State University, where the 6'4" guard was second on the Redbirds averaging 11.3 points per game. Lofton also contributed 3.0 rebounds per game, 46 assists and 31 steals during his time at ISU. He spent his freshman season at San Jacinto College in Texas, averaging 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. In high school, Lofton helped guide Columbia Heights to the Minnesota Class 3A state championship game.
"Zach is a very talented player and has been a proven scorer in a very competitive basketball conference," added Pitino. "He has great size and athleticism. He grew up loving the U and will wear the Minnesota jersey with pride."