Trevor Mbakwe's journey to the Gophers can best be described as tumultuous. After starring in high school at Henry-Sibley and St. Bernard's, Mbakwe attended Marquette University. After a freshman season that was riddled with injuries, Mbakwe transferred to Miami Dade College, a junior college in Miami, Florida.
Mbakwe's journey appeared to be over last season when he transferred to Minnesota. Then Mbakwe was charged with felony assault and was forced to sit out the entire year because the case was ongoing. Now with the case settled, Mbakwe is cleared to play and seems more than ready.
In the Star Tribune, Sid Hartman reported that Mbakwe looked amazing in a scrimmage on Friday at Williams Arena. Hartman wrote, "There won't be a better rebounder and shot blocker in the Big Ten than Mbakwe…"If Mbakwe can live up to this lofty expectation the Gophers can be a much better team this season.
Last year, the Gophers lacked a true power forward. The team relied on undersized forwards like Damian Johnson or Paul Carter to guard much larger and more physical forwards. The Gophers also would play centers Colton Iverson and Ralph Sampson at the same time. This worked against some teams but failed against teams with athletic power forwards like Michigan's DeShawn Simms who had 27 and 23 points in the Wolverines' two wins against Minnesota last year.
Mbakwe's tenacious defense and rebounding should make the Gophers a tough team for any offense to compete with.
If Mbakwe can live up to his potential and average ten points while adding blocked shots, plenty of rebounds and play solid defense, the Gophers could place themselves in contention for a Big Ten title.
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Trevor Mbakwe Ready to Play
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