Minnesota and new head coach Richard Pitino had a tough blow on Friday as the school announced that junior center Maurice Walker would be suspended the first six games of the season for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
The 6-foot-10 junior center averaged 2.2 points and two rebounds per game in a little over six minutes per game last season but put up 17 points and 13 rebounds in a Minnesota exhibition win earlier this week and has lost 60 pounds this offseason.
According to a report from Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press, Pitino and the team is excited to get Walker back and he could be an impact at center when he comes back.
“We support Mo,” Pitino said to Fuller. “We love Mo, can’t wait to get him back in Maui. He’s going to be a big help to our basketball team.”
Walker took in Minnesota’s 81-62 win over Lehigh in street clothes and he’ll return for the second round of the Maui Invitational after the Gophers face Syracuse in the first game.