Nov 4, 2012, 5:09 PM EDT
To say that it was a tough offseason for Minnesota senior power forward Trevor Mbakwe would be an understatement. On the heels of a torn ACL that robbed him of much of the 2011-12 campaign, a violation of his probation very nearly landed Mbakwe in jail.
But after avoiding jail time (he now has two additional years of probation) Mbakwe is ready to help Tubby Smith’s team get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.
The Golden Gophers, despite being picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten preseason poll, have the talent needed to make a return to the Big Dance.
And with that in mind, Mbakwe guaranteed on Twitter that if Minnesota doesn’t earn an NCAA bid he’ll repay his scholarship for this season.
In the tweets Mbakwe expressed both his confidence in and his love for his teammates, players who will need a healthy Mbakwe if they’re to be a factor in the Big Ten.
The guarantee, if you recall what former Oklahoma All-American Courtney Paris did a few years ago, isn’t as risky as one would believe.
Paris, a power forward on the Sooners’ 2009 Final Four team, guaranteed a national title to the Lloyd Noble Center crowd on “Senior Night” and vowed to repay her scholarship (approximately $64,000 value at the time) for all four years if Oklahoma didn’t win it all.
“I have a passion for our fans and university, and I want to do something special,” said Paris. “That’s why I put my scholarship on the table. I meant what I said.”
Ultimately the Sooners fell 61-59 to Louisville in the Final Four that season, and the school announced a week later that they wouldn’t hold Paris to the guarantee.
Could the same thing happen for Mbakwe if for the valiant efforts of he and his teammates Minnesota still fell short of its goal?
Guarantees have long been a “tradition” of sorts in sports, but in many cases the most an athlete would have to pay if they were wrong would be ridicule from fans, opponents and the media.
Mbakwe’s essentially written a check with his guarantee, and the hope for he and his teammates is that they (and not the bursar’s office) will be able to cash it come March.
Aug 29, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT
Michigan State scheduled games against three national teams preparing for next month’s Eurobasket championships (Russia, Italy and Georgia).
Aug 29, 2015, 6:50 PM EDT
According to head coach Ray Harper, Kristaps Gluditis was regarded as one of the top shooters in Europe.
Aug 29, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT
Tillie is a skilled forward who will have the chance to contribute immediately in 2016-17 due to the eventual losses of Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski (both are seniors this season).
Aug 29, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
Theo Pinson makes a bold statement and backs it up by burying a tough shot.
Aug 29, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT
Washington is losing another player as the team only returns two scholarship players from last season.
Aug 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
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Aug 29, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT
Seventh Woods still has plenty of highlight plays up his sleeve.
Aug 28, 2015, 11:30 PM EDT
Friday was photo day in Lawrence.
Aug 28, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT
The Spartans are now 1-1 on the trip.
Aug 28, 2015, 8:15 PM EDT
It’s Joey van Zegeren’s first year with the Northwestern program.
Aug 28, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Stanford falls to 1-1 on the foreign tour.
Aug 28, 2015, 5:19 PM EDT
The ex-Oklahoma commit decides to state in-state.
Aug 28, 2015, 4:22 PM EDT
Last week, 24 of the best high school basketball players participated in the 10th annual event.
Aug 28, 2015, 3:24 PM EDT
Three of Jordan Bohannon’s older brothers have played Division I college basketball, but he’s the first to pick their father’s alma mater.
Aug 28, 2015, 1:49 PM EDT
During his first bout with the disease Smith suffered cardiac arrest and lapsed into a coma that lasted for three days.
Aug 28, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
The team many expect to be a national title contender has a new court to play on this season.
Aug 28, 2015, 11:20 AM EDT
Crean addressed the recent off-court issues at a school event in Indianapolis.
Aug 28, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
And the toss was a solid one as well.
Aug 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
Herard has scheduled official visits to three of the five remaining schools on his list.
Aug 27, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT
The 6-foot-6 Canadian averaged 9.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game last season.
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