While Richard Pitino’s Minnesota Golden Gophers are off to an 8-2 start to the season, rebounding has proven to be an area that needs to be shored up ahead of the start of Big Ten play. Opponents have managed to rebound 33 percent of their missed shots, a figure that ranks 13th out of 14 Big Ten teams, and senior forward Maurice Walker leads the team with an average of just 5.3 rebounds per game.
Thursday afternoon Minnesota made official the addition of a freshman power forward, as 6-foot-9 Gaston Diedhiou is eligible to compete immediately according to Amelia Rayno of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Diedhiou, a native of Senegal who attended Canarias Basketball Academy, retook and passed an English proficiency exam that during the summer factored into his being denied admission to Minnesota during the summer.
Earlier in the day Thursday, Pitino said the team was waiting to hear about Diedhiou’s eligibility. “Any day now,” the coach said.
“I don’t have a whole lot of expectations for him right now, immediately,” the coach added. “That’s what those guys need: Playing time.”
According to the report Diedhiou has been living on campus and using the team facilities while also working towards improving his score on the aforementioned proficiency test. That being said, Diedhiou was not allowed to work out with the team during that period, so it remains to be seen just what he can provide the Golden Gophers.
Prior to the addition of Diedhiou the Golden Gophers had just nine available scholarship players. Diedhiou is one of two players added to the Minnesota roster Thursday, with walk-on guard Mike Lukashewich being the other. Minnesota’s next game is Friday night, when they host Seattle.