Minnesota is expected to hire Xavier assistant Ben Johnson as its next head coach, sources told ESPN.

Johnson will replace Richard Pitino, who was let go last week after eight seasons with the Golden Gophers. An official announcement could come as soon as Monday night.

Johnson is a Minneapolis native who graduated from Minnesota in 2005. He played two seasons for the Golden Gophers and averaged around nine points per game after spending two seasons at Northwestern.

He also spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Minnesota under Pitino, establishing himself as a high-level recruiter in the state. Johnson landed former ESPN 100 recruit Amir Coffey and future pro Amir Coffey, among others.

Johnson has been an assistant for the last three seasons under Travis Steele at Xavier. He’s also spent time as an assistant coach at Nebraska and Northern Iowa.

Minnesota has had trouble in recent years keeping top prospects from leaving the state for college, and the Gophers’ hope is that Johnson’s relationships with the high school and AAU coaches in the area can help keep them home. He met with athletic director Mark Coyle over the weekend and agreed a deal on Monday, sources said.

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