Trevor Mbakwe Sets Record Straight

Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-foot-8 forward who is expected to add a physical presence to the Minnesota Gopher frontcourt this season, showed off his aggressive play as he scored 29 points to pace Errol Carlstrom Playaz to a 119-109 win over B-2-X at the Pulley Pro City Summer League. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Mbakwe after the game to talk about rumors about his playing status and his role this year.

Trevor Mbakwe was named FCAAA Southern Conference Player of the Year this past season at Miami-Dade (FL) CC as he averaged 16.3 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots per game. He shot 61.1% from the field and 67.4% from the line. Mbakwe has paced the Sharks to a 26-3 record this past season and they finished ranked third in the country in the final NJCAA poll. Mbakwe is averaging 13.0 rebounds per game, third in the NJCAA. His inside game is likely to make an immediate impact for Minnesota next season.

Mbakwe is averaging 23.0 points per game for the Errol Carlstrom Playaz, who are off to a 3-1 start. He scored a personal-best 29 points as he was quick to credit his teammates for their help in a 119-115 win.

"We just played as a team. I had a good showings my last couple of games, but got in foul trouble and we lost (by one point 96-95). I wanted to come out and play with intensity and play hard like I usually do. Today, I was playing some good competition with some bigger players, so I used my quickness a little more I want to keep evolving my game and that will come along."

Mbakwe had good chemistry with Gopher sophomore point guard Devoe Joseph, who had 31 points. Joseph threw a pass off the backboard in the fourth quarter that Mbakwe dunked ferociously, drawing a big response from the crowd.

"I love playing with Devoe. I feel that we are the best two-on-two combo out here so far. He is a good player and I am looking forward with this fall and we are playing really well together."

Mbakwe is taking summer classes to make the adjustment after spending last year at a junior college. Mbakwe played as a freshman at Marquette, but left the Big East school after head coach Tom Crean left for Indiana.

"School is going really well. We have a couple of more weeks left. and I'll finally get my summer break."

Developing more of my 15-foot range and working more from the elbow and out. I'm not going to be able to just back people down. That is just going to open my game."

Mbawke and incoming freshman Rodney Williams Jr. wowed the crowd with their highlight reel dunk Tuesday. Mbakwe is hoping that Gopher will see the two makes their share of exciting plays this upcoming season.

"When Rodney committed and I committed, I knew that this was going to be one of the most athletic teams in Gopher history. With Royce and us, I am really looking forward to it. He can jump out of the gym."

Mbakwe said that he was aware of the rumors about him not playing for the team this season.

"I know that people have been mentioning about me not playing, but is not true. I'm here. Nothing's changed. I'm still going to be a Gopher. I am still going to continue to play my last two years. I had a reporter and one of my coaches bring it to my attention. I was shocked. There have been rumors during my entire high school career, so it was nothing new to me. I don't really pay attention to the message boards that much. It's a whole bunch of people who know basketball and some who don't who just go by what they read. I don't really put that much thought into it."

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