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Gophers pursuing transfer forward Dawson Garcia

The 6-foot-11 Prior Lake native left North Carolina via the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at North Carolina
North Carolina Tar Heels forward Dawson Garcia (13) with the ball as Michigan Wolverines forward Moussa Diabate (14) defends in the second half Dec. 1, 2021, at Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Bob Donnan / USA Today Sports
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The Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s basketball program is making another effort to keep Dawson Garcia at home.

The 6-foot-11 Prior Lake native left North Carolina via the NCAA transfer portal on Wednesday and visited the Minnesota campus on Friday, a source told the St Paul Pioneer Press.

Garcia, a four-star prospect in the 2020 recruiting class, didn’t commit to former Gophers coach Richard Pitino two years ago and went to Marquette for the 2020-21 season. The forward then took advantage of the opportunity to transfer one time and not have to sit out a season when he went to UNC a year ago.

Garcia averaged nine points and five rebounds in 16 games (12 starts) but didn’t finish the season. North Carolina advanced to the NCAA championship game.

“Congratulations to all of Tar Heel Nation on a great finish to the season!” Garcia wrote on Twitter this week. “With all that has happened to my family this past year, I have decided to stay in closer proximity to them.”

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Garcia left Chapel Hill, N.C. in January to return to Minnesota and support his family. In February, he wrote: “After the loss of several very special family members in the past year, I came close to losing my dad in December and my Grandma is currently in the (intensive care unit at a hospital). … It’s not even a question to me where I need to be right now.”

With Garcia having transferred once already under the newer NCAA rule, he would need a hardship waiver in order to obtain immediate eligibility and not be forced to sit out the upcoming season at his new school.

As a true freshman at Marquette, Garcia averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds in 27 games in 2020-21. He is a career 49 percent shooter from 2-point range and 36 percent from 3.

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