Trevor Mbakwe entered last season with some lofty expectations. He was picked by some (e.g., ESPN’s Andy Katz) as one of the preseason favorites for All American and picked by many as a preseason All-Big Ten candidate. Just a mere six games into last season, Mbakwe blew out his knee. After being granted a rare sixth year by the NCAA, Mbakwe is heaping the pressure upon himself this time around.
On Sunday, the 6’8″ beast in the middle tweeted that he would “pay back” his scholarship this year if the Gophers didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament. To ensure people knew he was serious, he followed that tweet up with two more. It appears as if the tweets have been deleted from his twitter account, but TC Huddle confirmed they were up.
TCH likes to see this kind of confidence and dedication. There’s no room for failing in Mbakwe’s mind. While the Gophers aren’t ranked in the any preseason top 25 poll, many fans across Minnesota expect big things from this team. The regular season opens up this Friday against Southwest Baptist at Williams Arena. It may take a few games for this team to begin to gel, but that’s why Tubby Smith scheduled a number of cupcakes early in the season. The Gophers first real test will come in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas where they face Duke on November 22nd to open the tournament. Until then, hopefully the Gophers are working out the kinks and racking up Ws.