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Minnesota freshman forward denied admission

Richard Pitino

Minnesota coach Richard Pitino holds up the net after Minnesota defeated SMU 65-63 in an NCAA college basketball game in the final of the NIT, Thursday, April 3, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


Minnesota was set to have two foreign-born players join the program this season, however, late on Tuesday night, it was reported that one of freshman big men did not gain admission to the university.

According to Amelia Rayno of the Star Tribune, Gaston Diedhiou, a native of Senegal, was denied entry to the University of Minnesota. The 6-foot-9 Diedhiou passed the NCAA Clearinghouse as a full-qualifier.

From the Star Tribune:

Those sources told the Star Tribune that Diedhiou’s English proficiency test scores were cited as the major concern. Minnesota does not have any thresholds for proficiency test scores set in stone, director of admissions Rachelle Hernandez said, but the results are considered as part of a holistic review done for every applicant. After being advised by other members of the department, Hernandez ultimately makes the decision whether to admit the prospective student.

“Our assessment is really related to can the student be successful academically and can they be successful in an English-speaking setting,” Hernandez said, speaking generally about the admissions process. “Admissions decisions are never based on just one thing.”

This news puts pressure on senior big men Mo Walker, Joey King and Elliott Eliason in Minnesota’s frontcourt. They are accompanied in the front court by freshmen forward Josh Martin and center Bakary Konate, both three-star recruits, according to Rivals. The 6-foot-11 Konate is from Mali, and according to Rayno’s sources, also had difficulty with the admissions process, but was ultimately admitted and is eligible.

The best case scenario for Diedhiou and Minnesota is if he passes the Test of English as a Foreign Language before the start of next semester and can be eligible for the second semester.

This is the second time a recruit was denied admission this summer. In late July, Oregon signee Ray Kasongo, a three-star power forward, was denied admission from the university, the start of a long ordeal that ended with him committing to a junior college.

Minnesota ended the first year of the Richard Pitino era 25-13 (8-10 Big Ten), winning the NIT title over SMU in April.

Follow @terrence_payne