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Gophers: Pharrel Payne enters transfer portal after 2 seasons

<div>Pharrel Payne #21 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers receives a pass against Jaxon Kohler #0 of the Michigan State Spartans in the second half in the Second Round of the Big Ten Tournament at Target Center on March 14, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Spartans defeated the Golden Gophers 77-67.</div> <strong>((Photo by David Berding/Getty Images))</strong>

MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The University of Minnesota men’s basketball roster is going to look a lot different in the 2024-25 season.

A day after Joshua Ola-Joseph decided he was leaving the Gophers, center Pharrel Payne entered the NCAA transfer portal on Thursday. College athletes can currently leave programs without penalty, and chase NIL deals across the country. Payne is likely in search of a permanent starting role, and a bigger pay day.

Payne played in 32 games this season, starting the last 19, and averaged 10 points and 6.1 rebounds per game despite dealing with a back issue. He was emerging as one of the best big men in the Big Ten.

The Cottage Grove native came to the Gophers along with Ola-Joseph, and Braeden Carrington. Other names to keep an eye on for returning next season are Dawson Garcia, Cam Christie and Parker Fox. But between the transfer portal, NIL and the NBA Draft, Johnson could have an entirely different roster next season.

BRAEDEN CARRINGTON ENTERS TRANSFER PORTAL

Sophomore guard Braeden Carrington became the third Gophers’ player to enter the transfer portal since the team’s season ended Sunday. He got 10 starts this year and averaged 4.6 points per game.

Carrington missed time earlier in the season to address concerns for his mental health, but ended up playing in 29 games. Carrington, a former Minnesota Mr. Basketball, Payne and Joshua Ola-Joseph all stayed home to play for Ben Johnson at Minnesota two years ago. Now, none will be part of the roster next season.

Johnson has three scholarships available for next season, coming off winning 19 games and going 9-11 in Big Ten play.