Minnesota Golden Gophers starting forward Trevor Mbakwe put together a more-than respectable season in his first year in the maroon and gold.
Mbakwe averaged a double-double with 13.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. His number of boards were good enough to make him the Big Ten rebounding champion and he earned Second-Team All Conference as well.
With NBA scouts in attendance to catch a glimpse of Purdue’s JuJuan Johnson and Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger in the Big Ten Tournament, did Mbakwe do enough against Northwestern to put his self on the radar of prospective pro teams?
By: Nick Grays
Despite losing 75-65 to Northwestern in the tournament’s opening game, Mbakwe did his part by posting yet another double-double. His 19 points and 11 rebounds give him his 20th of the season which is tops in the conference.
Following the game, Mbakwe was asked what this Gophers team needed to do to get better next year.
“Keep playing hard,” responded Mbakwe. “We have a lot of work to do. It’s going to be an important off-season for a lot of us.”
“We just have to work on our games a lot. We weren’t able to make shots this year and that kind of hurt us down the stretch. We just all have to get in the gym and be better players, and we’re going to be confident coming back next year,” added Mbakwe.
The big question is whether the red-shirt junior will be back to play another season. Mbakwe could enter the NBA Draft to see if he can sneak in the second round or perhaps play overseas.
At 6-8, some may call him a tweener because he thrives in the post, but lacks any kind of jump-shot. This could become a problem in the NBA where he would be slightly undersized. Head Coach Tubby Smith has also mentioned in the past that he would like to see him get better defensively.
His biggest strengths are crashing the boards and playing through contact.
Others have also mentioned the fact that Mbakwe is a father and may be looking to provide more support for his child.
Tubby Smith and Minnesota fans would love to have Mbakwe back on the team for another year, but as of now, it looks to be up in the air.
What do you think of Trevor Mbakwe’s future; should he return for his senior year or is he ready to play in the NBA or Europe? Let me know what you think by commenting below!
Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.Follow paulmbanks