Minnesota toughed out a 63-58 win over Michigan State on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament. But it wasn’t all good news for the Gophers.
Guard Akeem Springs suffered an injury to his right leg — likely an Achilles injury, according to coach Richard Pitino — against the Spartans. Springs posted an Instagram on Friday evening announcing his college basketball career was over.
Never thought it would end like this. College basketball has been amazing. The ups and downs. The wins and the losses. I loved every moment. It's a hand full of ppl that can say they won the last game they played in and I can say that. Now I'll be the same loud teammate doing everything I can to help my team win another game. Y'all don't send me anything sad lol I'm good. God never gives you more than you can handle. I got it. Appreciate all the support love y'all. Oh and happy birthday to me! Man! That's all for now Ponytail0G out ✌?! #ForMomma #23JordanYear
Springs was only at Minnesota this season, but he made an immediate impact with the Gophers. The 6-foot-4 team captain averaged 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds while playing 24.1 minutes per game.
Pitino commented on Springs following the game and credited the senior guard with being a huge factor of Minnesota’s turnaround in the 2016-17 campaign.
“I hate it. He doesn’t deserve that. His leadership has transformed this team,” Pitino said. “He’s such a tough kid. I know he wants to play at the next level. If it is the case, we’ll be here for him. Our guys, they need to rally around him because he deserves that. He came here with no ego. He transformed our locker room. He made some huge shots. If it is a blown Achilles, it’s a huge blow.”
Springs came to Minnesota last offseason as a graduate transfer from Milwaukee-Wisconsin. The Waukegan, Ill. native began his career at Northern Illinois during the 2012-13 season.
Minnesota will face eighth-seeded Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals at 1 p.m. on Saturday.