Trevor Mbakwe Leaves Marquette, Headed to JC

Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-foot-7 sophomore forward, has informed Marquette Golden Eagles coach Buzz Williams that he has quit the men's basketball team, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Mbakwe had considered leaving the team in the spring and transferring to Minnesota, but decided to remain at Marquette. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Rene Pulley, his former AAU mentor, to learn the latest.

Trevor Mbakwe was expected to start school at Marquette this morning. However, he was decided to remain at home in Minnesota.

Rene Pulley, who is the head of the Howard Pulley AAU program, said that he has yet to talk to Mbakwe, but has heard that he hopes to play at Miami-Dade (FL) CC. The University of Miami is another possibility. The Gophers recruited Steve Toyloy last year from Miami-Dade, but he signed with Cincinnati.

Mbakwe, who had a 2.9 GPA at Marquette, has lived in Florida and Georgia before he moved to Minnesota.

The Gophers currently have 13 players on scholarship with former walk-ons Jamal Abu-Shamala and Travis Busch, which means that they would not have a scholarship available for Mbakwe if he wanted to transfer to Minnesota.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Williams and the Golden Eagles were caught off-guard by Mbakwe's decision, especially since he took part in all of MU's off-season workouts and had given no indication he was considering leaving.

"He just said that he felt it was best to go the junior-college route," Williams said. "He had never told me anything. I only want people that want to be a part of our program, be a part of our institution and be a part of our family. I wish Trevor nothing but the best, and I know his teammates feel the same way. I was shocked by the news."

Mbakwe was expected to be a key contributor last season as a freshman, but was declared out for the year after suffering a knee injury in practice. He underwent surgery on Nov. 9 but on Feb. 15 was declared fit to play and decided to take part in the final portion of the Golden Eagles' schedule rather than sit out the rest of the season as a redshirt.

He played in 10 games, averaging 1.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a reserve.

Mbakwe was named first-team All-Metro by GoldenSports.Net as a senior as he averaged 22.0 points per game to lead St. Bernard's to a 33-1 mark and a third-place finish in the Class A State Tournament. Mbakwe scored in double figures in every game this year.

St. Bernard's finished the regular season undefeated before losing to eventual state champion Ellsworth 85-73 in the semifinals, despite 18 points from Mbakwe. The Bulldogs rebounded to beat Barnum in the third-place game 67-44.

Mbakwe passed his college entrance test in the spring, but suffered an isolated fibular collateral ligament sprain to his left knee. The injury was expected to keep him out for the season, but he decided to play the final 11 games of the season. Mbakwe averaged 1.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game in 9.3 minutes per contest.

Mbakwe averaged 21.2 points per game as a junior at Henry Sibley as he led the Warriors to a 17-11 mark. He scored in double figures in all but one game (nine points versus North St. Paul) and had 20 or more points in 15 of his 26 contests. He averaged 24.3 points and 13.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore and was named first-team All-Metro by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Mbakwe briefly transferred to Marietta (GA) Wheeler before his junior season, but returned to Minnesota in September. There had been talk that he could be playing for Wheeler again as a senior, but since they started school in August, Mbakwe decided to transfer to St. Bernard's instead.

Mbakwe started the AAU season playing for the Howard Pulley Panther program, but switched to the World Wide Renegades, which played in the Reebok Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas.

He helped lead Henry Sibley to a 16-11 mark as a sophomore. He was invited to the 2005 Nike All-American Camp, but elected to bypass the event. Mbakwe played in the 2006 Reebok ABCD Camp.

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