May 20, 2021: Stephen F. Austin transfer Charlie Daniels (not the band) committed to Minnesota Thursday, giving the Gophers a veteran post presence.
–> BY: Tony Liebert
After a month plus since Ben Johnson and the Gophers’ last transfer commitment, the first-year head coach has dipped back into the ever-so-popular transfer portal and reeled in Stephen F. Austin big man Charlie Daniels. Standing at 6-foot-9, Daniels proved to be quite effective in his nearly 14 minutes per game throughout his two-year stint with the Lumberjacks. Daniels averaged 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 57.7% from the field last season, very comparable to the previous year. Given the circumstances, Daniels will likely step into a very large role with Minnesota as the team’s only veteran post presence.
Congratulations to former Pioneer Charlie "Big County" Daniels on committing to play his Grad Transfer year in the BIG 10 at the University of Minnesota @GopherMBB. #RiverFamily pic.twitter.com/HHO3defjYh
— Indian River Hoops (@IRSC_Pioneers) May 20, 2021
Who is Charlie Daniels?:
Charlie ‘Big Country’ Daniels is a 6-foot-9 big man from Jacksonville, Fla. Daniels does share the name of the popular band The Charlie Daniels Band, who is most known for the popular song The Devil Went Down to Georgia. He has no connection to the band at all, just a random coincidence.
Daniels began his collegiate basketball at Indian River State College in Fort Pierce, Fla. competing at the NJCAA (JUCO) level. He was an effective contributor off the bench in his first season averaging 3.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.7 steals and 1.0 block on 55% shooting from the field. As a sophomore, he would develop into an All-Southern conference second-team player. He would start in all 27 games, averaging 10.6 points, a team-leading 7.3 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals and a team-leading 1.1 blocks on 59.1% shooting from the field.
Stephen F. Austin would go on to sign Charlie Daniels, and he would contribute right away as a junior off the bench. He would average 4 points and 2.7 rebounds on 54.8% shooting from the field. The veteran big man would have a very similar season in 2020-21 averaging 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game off the bench. He has now ended up with the Gophers in his final season of college eligibility.
At this point of the offseason process, beggars cannot be choosers. It might seem a bit odd that a man that averaged no more than five points and four rebounds in the Southland Conference will make the jump into the Big Ten Conference, but I am here to tell you why Daniels can be successful next season.
At first glance of Daniels’ stature and tape from last season, he has the size, athleticism, and nasty to be an effective role player from the post position. Anyone that makes the transition from the JUCO level all of the way up to a Power 5 situation, LOVES basketball. JUCO basketball is a grind and a half, and it is very easy for anyone to call it a career at any moment. Daniels will likely come to Dinkytown knowing that he has just been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. His raw basketball skills give him every chance to be successful in the Big Ten with great length and an elite motor. As of now, his role would look to be the Gophers’ starting five-man, so at this point, I think you can only project how much better he can be in a bigger role, as he has not averaged over 15 minutes per game at the D1 level. I believe Daniels can be a high-motor big man and give some solid minutes, but at this time I am not sure how much he improves the Gophers outlook into next season.
What is next:
Ben Johnson’s first offseason at the helm of the Gophers continues to not disappoint with storylines, but I am not sure how much those will translate into wins. After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed that Northern State transfer Parker Fox had suffered a torn ACL and will likely miss all of the 2021-22 season. Both Gach and Brandon Johnson are both officially gone, and Minnesota’s roster outlook for next season has never looked grimmer.
INJ: Parker Fox
I like to be an optimistic fan, but it is really tough to make any seriously positive spin on the next season plan and simple. Parker Fox was likely set to be the lead option, but now that role will likely make its way to Jamison Battle. I am a fan of a lot of the players that the Gophers have landed, but I am not sure how they will all succeed in each of their likely largest roles since high school. Ben Johnson has four more open scholarships to work with as it stands now and the pool of options is only getting shallower, with Boston College transfer and MN native Steffon Mitchell as the most notable serious option.
As it sits now, Gophers fans will now be able to see how Johnson’s X’s and O’s his on-court coaching will show up after being brought in for his recruiting prowess. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for Gophers fans’ sanity, it may be best to show patience and shift your energy to the 2022 recruiting class and the 2022-23 season until this program has a serious expectation of postseason basketball.