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Minnesota Gophers release Illinois State transfer Zach Lofton

The Zach Lofton experiment didn’t last long in Minneapolis, as head coach Richard Pitino announced the junior guard was dismissed from the team, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Lofton was about to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules after coming back home to the Twin Cities from Illinois State. However, he won’t be a part of the basketball program any longer.

“While decisions like this are always difficult, we felt it was in the interest of our program to move forward at this time,” Pitino said in a news release Wednesday. “We wish Zach nothing but the best in the future.”

The release did indicate that Lofton will remain on scholarship for the rest of this academic year though, so whatever it was clearly was not academic related.

While at Illinois State, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard averaged 11.3 points per game but it appeared there were discipline problems there. According to the report in the Pioneer Press, Lofton sat out the final three games of last season for the Redbirds.

Lofton was looking to return home, as he led St. Paul area Columbia Heights to a runner-up finish in the 2011 Class 3A state tournament.

He was expected to help the Gophers replace Dre Hollins with his size and scoring ability on the wing for the 2015-16 season, but that clearly won’t be happening anymore.

There was no word available on the actual incident or violation that occurred to get Lofton dismissed from the team.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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