Updated: 04/28/2014 4:12 PM
Created: 04/28/2014 1:36 PM KSTP.com
By: Nick Tabbert
The University of Minnesota men's basketball team is taking shape after signing three players and filling out its recruiting class. Head coach Richard Pitino announced Monday the team has signed Gaston Diedhiou, Bakary Konate and Zach Lofton to National Letters of Intent.
They join guards Nate Mason and Carlos Morris and forward Josh Martin as the newest additions to the Gophers program.
"With this signing class, we feel like we have added a great deal of athleticism," Pitino said in a release. "This is extremely important with our style of play and as we continue to build this program."
Diedhiou is a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Senegal that can play multiple positions. He most recently played at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain.
"We are excited about signing Gaston," Pitino said. "He brings a necessary addition to our frontcourt. His size and potential will be a great asset to our team."
Konate played at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan. The team said he is lauded for his rebounding and shot blocking abilities.
"Bakary has tremendous potential - the sky is the limit for him," Pitino said. "He's a great athlete and shot blocker which is vital in our system."
Lofton is a transfer from Illinois State that averaged 11.3 rebounds per game last season. The St. Paul native will redshirt next season with Minnesota.
"Zach is a very talented player and has been a proven scorer in a very competitive basketball conference," Pitino said. "He has great size and athleticism. He grew up loving the U and will wear the Minnesota jersey with pride."
Minnesota will return four starters from its National Invitation Tournament championship team a year ago, Pitino's first as head coach.
The Gophers went 25-13 overall, but just 8-10 in Big Ten Conference play.