New Gophers center Liam Robbins has received a waiver from the NCAA to play in the upcoming basketball season, a source confirmed to the Pioneer Press on Wednesday.
Robbins, a Davenport, Iowa, native, transferred to Minnesota from Drake in April. He will have two seasons of eligibility and will be able to immediately help the Gophers replace Daniel Oturu, a Woodbury native who entered the NBA draft after his sophomore season in 2019-20.
Gophers coach Richard Pitino said in the spring he was optimistic Robbins would receive clearance to play, and said some of the nation’s top programs were recruiting the versatile 7-footer last spring.
This is one-half of the waivers the Gophers hope to receive this offseason; they are still awaiting a decision on whether shooting guard Both Gach will also get the go-ahead. The Austin, Minn., native has transferred to Minnesota from Utah in June.
The Gophers felt wronged when point guard Marcus Carr was denied a waiver in November 2018 after he transferred to Minnesota from Pittsburgh in the wake of coach Kevin Stallings being fired. Carr will return to the Gophers for his junior season after exploring a move to the NBA this offseason.
Robbins had a breakout sophomore season at Drake, leading the team with 14.1 points and 7.1 rebounds in all 34 games for the Missouri Valley Conference team last season. He also averaged 2.9 blocks per game, which was fifth-most in the nation a year ago.
“Liam is dominant on the low block but can also step out and stretch the defense,” Pitino said in a statement when Robbins’ transfer was announced. “He is also one of the best shot blockers in the country.”
Robbins will have a new front court partner in forward Brandon Johnson, a Western Michigan graduate transfer eligible to play straight away.
Robbins is the nephew of Gophers assistant coach Ed Conroy and cousin of to-be senior guard Hunt Conroy.