If any Gopher basketball player was to be confused for a football player, it’d Mo Walker. At the end of his sophomore season, the 6-foot-10 center from Canada weighed in at more than 310 pounds. For comparison purposes, Minnesota’s defensive lineman Ra’Shede Hageman is 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds.
It’s been no secret that Walker has spent his off-season shedding the weight that has kept him predominately on the sidelines in his first three seasons (one redshirt) for the Gophers. But in a recent Instagram post, Walker shows that he’s lost a significant amount of weight — at least the 50 pounds he’s put on since joining the Gophers.
Staying healthy has been a one issue for Walker, who redshirted his second year while recovering from knee surgery. Aside from injuries however, his conditioning has limited the amount of minutes he can play when healthy.
The former three-star recruit from Toronto was the top recruit in Minnesota’s Class of 2010, but he’s played the fewest minutes among his classmates which include Austin Hollins, Elliot Eliason, Oto Osenieks, Maverick Ahanmisi, and Chip Armelin.
During the off-season, head coach Richard Pitino told Walker that he would only have a role in his up-tempo offense if he lost weight. Walker took up the offer and is closing in on his target weight of 250 pounds through conditioning and eating healthy.
“People think we’ve had this big, long strategic plan and we’ve had to be on him every single day, but it was really simple,” said Pitino to Yahoo Sports. “I just told him he wasn’t going to play unless he lost a lot of weight, and that was really it. He’s done the rest.”
The weight loss is a big win for Minnesota, who are thin in the front court this year after graduating Rodney Williams, Trevor Mbakwe and Andre Ingram in the spring. If there’s a time for Walker to bust out and contribute for the Gophers, it’s this season with the road paved for him to fight for a starting position.