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Mar 3, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Eric Curry (24) looks to pass the ball during the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryce Jordan Center. Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota forward Eric Curry has decided to return for a sixth season in the program, the team announced Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 Curry was planning to serve as a graduate assistant under new coach Ben Johnson, but he changed his mind and exercised his option under the NCAA's pandemic guidelines to play an additional year. The Gophers said Curry would switch his jersey from No. 24 to No. 1.

Curry, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, was forced to miss both the 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons with knee injuries. In 78 career games, he has averaged 4.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 18.2 minutes. Curry played in all 29 games in the 2020-21 season.

"I’m so incredibly excited for Eric,” Johnson said in a statement distributed by the university. “I’m happy with how he is feeling physically first and foremost, and that he is hungry to compete and lead for one more year. I know he is pumped to be able to wear the Maroon and Gold and we are just as thrilled to have him back with us.”