July 17, 2021: Former Navy forward and Mercyhurst-transfer Daniel Ogele committed to the Golden Gophers Saturday.
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Gophers basketball has had a busy few weeks. Isaiah Ihnen suffered a season-ending knee injury, Eric Curry announced his return, Steffon Mitchell, Sterling Manley and Dawson Garcia all chose not to don the Maroon & Gold and Marcus Carr officially committed to Texas. We finally have some positive news for a change, as Mercyhurst (D2) transfer Danny Ogele announced his commitment to the Gophers Saturday afternoon. Ogele, a 6-foot-7-inch forward averaged 10.5 points and a team-high 4.8 rebounds per game last season — his first full season with Mercyhurst after a two-year career at the Naval Academy where he appeared in 32 games.
— Danny Ogele (@dannyo_22) July 17, 2021
Who is Danny Ogele?:
Danny Ogele, a native of Chicago, Illinois, attended Saint Ignatius Prep High School (the same school as Oliver Luck and Brian Hoyer) where he officially made a name for himself amongst the college basketball recruiting circles. As a prep standout, the 6-foot-7-inch Ogele helped Saint Ignatius win the 4A Regional Championship as a junior and averaged 17 points and seven rebounds during his senior season.
Ogele then attended the Naval Academy Preparatory School during the 2016-17 academic year. Then as a freshman, he appeared in three games for the Midshipmen, scoring two points and recording four rebounds. His role expanded the following season. The versatile forward appeared in 28 games — averaging 10.1 minutes per contest, he averaged 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
It was then off to Erie, Pennsylvania where Ogele would transfer to Division Two Mercyhurst University. In the first game of the 2019-20 season, he went down with a season-ending injury. He came back the following season and started all 13 games for the Lakers. He accumulated 10.5 points and a team-high 4.8 rebounds per game. In the same tournament as new teammate Parker Fox and Northern State, Ogele led Mercyhurst to the D1 equivalent of a Round of 32 appearance in the D2 Tournament. His long and windy road has brought him back to the Division One ranks, where he will now have every chance to have a big role for a wide-open Gophers roster.
In my opinion, Danny Ogele is the type of player that Ben Johnson and the Gophers should look for to fill out the rest of their roster. One thing that Johnson emphasized in his opening press conference, was that he will recruit guys that want to be Gophers. At this point of the process, the transfer portal is looking rather thin, so rather than signing a guy who had Minnesota as his 12th option I like the idea of adding someone like Danny Ogele who realizes the opportunity he has and will not take it for granted. I would be lying if I said that the Gophers should compete for the postseason in 2021-22, but adding players like Ogele is what will build a foundation and a culture for the future. As an experienced and veteran forward, Ogele certainly has the skill to play in the Big Ten and should have every chance to play a big role next season.
We are only 115 days away from the Ben Johnson-era officially tipping off on Nov. 9 against UMKC. The transfer portal is only getting thinner, and the Gophers still have two open scholarships, as Eric Curry does not count against the limit. This roster will not be oozing with talent, and Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen’s injury really hurt their chances of being very competitive, but I don’t hate the position that they’re in. Johnson was dealt a very tough hand with nearly his entire roster leaving, so it was unrealistic to expect him to compete at a high level in year one. He has recruited players that can shoot the ball at a high level and as a whole, he has constructed the type of roster that builds a culture and a foundation for the future.
INJ: Parker Fox/Isaiah Ihnen