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Drake transfer Joey King cleared to play immediately at Minnesota

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

Minnesota's frontcourt received a boost on Thursday, as sources told that the NCAA declared Drake transfer Joey King eligible immediately for the Gophers.

King, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Egan, Minn., averaged 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds in fewer than 20 minutes per game last season. He was also named to the Missouri Valley all-freshman team.

With Minnesota losing both Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams from last season – and potential transfer Rakeem Buckles not being granted a waiver to play immediately – King is expected to step in and start. He scored in double-figures on 10 occasions last season, including a four-game stretch in which he put up 16.0 points and 6.5 rebounds.

As head coach Richard Pitino enters his first year with the Gophers, he will rely heavily on the backcourt of Andre and Austin Hollins, the unrelated guards from Memphis. Florida International transfer Malik Smith will also help, but the options up front were lacking. The top returnees in the frontcourt are Elliott Eliason and Maurice Walker, who combined to average 4.4 points and 5.5 boards a season ago. King takes some of the pressure off.

Minnesota opens its season Nov. 8 against Lehigh.

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