Trevor Mbakwe Excited For Upcoming Season

Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward who is expected to add a physical presence to the Minnesota Gopher frontcourt, shined this summer in the Howard Pulley Summer League and many observers felt that he was the Gophers' best player Friday night in an opening scrimmage. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Mbakwe during Friday's media day to learn about his expectations for the upcoming season.

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 this season.

Mabakwe shined this summer as a member of the Errol Carlstrom Playaz, leading them to the Howard Pulley Summer League championship. Mbakwe felt that his strong play gave him confidence for the upcoming season.

"Definitely. Playing against guys who are playing overseas in top leagues and play against top college players is going to give you confidence. I played my type of game and had a good season at the Pro-Am. Hopefully, I can contribute to the team this season."

Mbakwe signed with Marquette out of high school and played for Miami-Dade last season. He is looking forward to playing at home in front of family and friends.

"It's going to be great. The first game and the Tip-Off is going to be a crazy experience. Just coming out here, wearing the Minnesota uniform and being back home is going to be wonderful. I'm looking forward to it."

Mbakwe admits that being back home has lived up to his expectations.

"Just walking around campus, I see people who I went to high school with. It has been one of those experiences. Unfortunately, things out of high school were a lot different. But, I loved my time at Marquette and I think that everything happens for a reason. I'm back here and hopefully, I can help keeping contributing to reviving this program. They made the tournament last year and hopefully, we can just keeping building on that. I see that there are a lot of expectations this year."

Mbakwe has high expectations for this year's team after playing against many of his teammates this summer.

"Just coming in from Day One, playing with guys like Al (Nolen) and Blake (Hoffarber) and Rodney and guys coming in from high school, we all jelled right away. It is going to be one of the most physical, athletic and skilled teams, that Minnesota has had in a long time. I know a lot of fans are looking forward to it. We just have to keep working hard on a consistent basis and we can actually make this a special year."

Mbakwe is awaiting word on his eligibility this season after facing a felony battery charge stemming from an April incident in Miami-Dade County.

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