Gopher hoops rebuild helped by surprise returners Willis, Curry

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Eric Curry told reporters he was was peace with his college basketball career having ended at the University of Minnesota. Payton Willis entered the transfer portal, leaving the Gophers to play at the College of Charleston. But they’ll both be back on the floor as Gophers again in the 2021-22 season.

Click the video box on this page to watch press conferences with Gophers’ returning seniors Eric Curry and Payton Willis

In their media availability ahead of the new season, Willis and Curry detailed their decisions to return to the "U".

Curry said he was exhausted – physically and mentally – at the end of the 2019-20 season which had him fully prepared to be done playing college basketball and begin looking ahead.

Willis initially transferred to the U after playing his freshman and sophomore years at Vanderbilt. After redshirting in 2018-19, he played his third collegiate season with the Gophers in 2019-20. Following that season, he entered the transfer portal and went to Charleston for the 2020-21 season.

Curry and Willis both cited wanting to shake a "sour taste in their mouth" from being their last memory as Gophers.

Willis averaged 8.6 points in his last full season as a Gopher. Curry averaged 3.7 points last season, but continued to battle injuries that previously caused him to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

They are two of eight seniors on the Gophers current roster – but the only two with prior experience at the "U". The rest of the roster are new incoming transfers.