The Minnesota men's basketball program today announced the signing of Oto Osenieks (Ocean-icks) to a National Letter of Intent. Osenieks will be eligible to compete during the 2010-11 season, joining fall signees Elliott Eliason (Chadron, Neb.) and Austin Hollins (Memphis, Tenn.) and fellow spring signee Maurice Walker (Scarborough, Ontario).
"We want to welcome Oto to the Golden Gopher basketball family," said Golden Gopher Head Coach Tubby Smith. "He is a player that will give us depth at both the small and power forward positions. He shoots the ball with great range but also has good ball skills and court awareness. Coach Lee has done a great job this season of continuing his development that was started with the Latvian National Team. We are getting a very mature player with international experience and that will add a great amount of flavor to our program."
Osenieks, a 6-8 senior forward, averaged 16.0 points 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game as a senior at Brehm Prep in Carbondale, Ill. A native of Riga, Latvia, Osenieks played for the Latvian national team in the 18 and under European Championships in 2008 and will also play in the upcoming under-20 European Championships.
The Gophers wrapped up the 2009-10 with a loss to Xavier on Mar. 19 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This was the second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gophers and the 16th overall appearance for a Tubby Smith-led team.
The Gophers finished 21-14 on the season, the 17th-straight season a Tubby Smith-led team reached the 20-win plateau. It is the longest active streak in the nation and the third-longest streak in NCAA history. Minnesota reached 20 total wins for just the 10th time in school history.