Gopher Junior Brandon Smith Leaves Team

Brandon Smith, a 6-foot-6 junior forward from Minneapolis Patrick Henry, is leaving the program. This leaves the Gophers with just 12 players on their roster. Minnesota, which has received four commitments to date and has two players visiting this weekend, will now have two scholarships available.

Brandon Smith played in just nine games with five starts as a freshman before being ruled academically ineligible for the second semester by the Big Ten and missed the last 18 games of the season. He averaged 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. Smith is an athletic player who struggled at times finishing. Some observers felt that Smith was more suited as an undersized power forward rather than a small forward.

Smith started 11 of 26 games last season, averaging 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Smith was suspended indefinitely from the team in late December by head coach Jim Molinari for what was described as a "violation of team rules." During that two-week span he did not practice with the team or sit on the bench for games.

Smith played in just three high school games as a senior at Minneapolis (MN) Patrick Henry before leaving the squad.

The Gophers open their exhibition season Thursday against Minnesota State-Mankato, and if Smith were to transfer before the start of the season he would be eligible for the start of the 2008-09 season. If he were to play a game, he would have to sit out the first semester before becoming eligible.

The Gophers have received four commitments and have Krys Faber and Verdell Jones visiting this weekend and Devoe Joseph the following week. The loss of Smith would give them two scholarships to offer. The Gophers are also recruiting Scottie Haralson.

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