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Gophers starting PG Elijah Hawkins enters the transfer portal

Star Gophers PG Elijah Hawkins has changed his mind and will enter the transfer portal



Starting Gophers point guard Elijah Hawkins shocked fans when he decided to enter the transfer portal Monday. Previously announcing his return to the program two different times earlier this offseason, Hawkins has had a change of heart and he will now be looking for a new team.

Hawkins averaged 7.5 assists per game last season, trailing only Marquette’s Tyler Kolek who has declared for the NBA Draft. He broke the Minnesota program record for single-season assists (247) and single-game assists (17) He only got better in the Gophers’ system throughout the season, so with an entire offseason to prepare, I was expecting big things from him next season and thought he had a serious chance to be an all-conference-type player.

Don’t get it twisted at all, I am under the impression that this decision was driven almost exclusively by NIL. Unfortunately, the tampering rules in college sports are much harder to enforce than pros and it’s happening in broad daylight. There was a program with a higher basketball budget than Minnesota that swooped in and offered Hawkins a NIL package he cannot refuse and unfortunately, I am hearing smoke that it might be within the Big Ten conference.

What’s Next?

This is not a Ben Johnson issue or a Gophers program issue, this is a system issue. This is a very similar situation to what happened with Cam Spencer and Rutgers last season. There was probably a program out there that didn’t like any of the PGs that are currently in the portal, but they did like Hawkins.

I usually push back against the NIL and Transfer Portal has ruined college sports talk, but this is the exact stuff that is not healthy for the sports whatsoever and this is the stuff that they need to fix. This is a horrible blow to Minnesota’s 2024-25 outlook, as Mike Mitchell Jr. and Isaac Asuma are now the only scholarship guards on the roster. Ben Johnson and his staff now have their hands tied and they’re in desperate need of finding another diamond in the rough.

A lifelong Minnesota sports fan, Tony Liebert is one of the biggest voices in Gophers sports coverage and the owner of Within the realm of credentialed media, Tony refined his abilities while serving as the lead writer for Gopherhole and as the sports editor at the Minnesota Daily during various stages of his career. Work has been featured on Bleacher Report, Yardbarker, and more.