Now that Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi has decided to keep Gophers power forward Trevor Mbakwe out of competition, pending the resolution of his felony assault case, I think it’s important to lay out some more of the facts.
The following information comes from numerous court documents related to Mbakwe’s legal case. In fairness, please read the entire post:
April 3, 2009
Officer meets with female victim in alleged attack at a Miami hospital. Woman claims that “a very tall black male” on a bicycle approached her and asked her if she was “[messed ] up,” as she approached her apartment.
The male “grabbed her pants and attempted to pull them down.” The woman screamed and then the male attacker punched her in the face, knocking her down, she said. The woman tried to get up, but her attacker punched her a second time before fleeing on his bicycle, she told police.
The woman said the assault occurred around 2:54 a.m.
The victim called 911 but decided to transport herself to the hospital, after emergency personnel responded. An ER doctor confirmed that the victim suffered “a fractured cheekbone on one side and a ruptured sinus on the other side.” She needed “corrective surgery” the next day.
The woman told responding officers at the hospital that the Miami Dade basketball team hosted a party at her apartment complex the night she was assaulted.
Due to the attacker’s “extreme height,” the woman told police that she “Googled” Miami Dade’s basketball team and “immediately” identified Mbakwe via the team website. The woman told police she was “100 percent sure” Mbakwe attacked her.
Police officers created a 6-man photo lineup and the woman picked Mbakwe from that arrangement.
The woman described her attacker as approximately 6-6, 190 pounds. She said he was wearing a white shirt and black shorts.
The woman told police to contact Victoria Martin, a woman she believed lived with Mbakwe. Martin told police that she lives with her boyfriend and Mbakwe in the same apartment complex where the woman said she was assaulted.
The Miami Dade basketball team’s party on the night of the assault occurred in a nearby apartment, Martin said. Martin said Mbakwe attended the party and left around 1 a.m. Martin said Mbakwe “never came back that night” (report doesn't explain whether Martin's referring to Mbakwe failing to return to the party or their apartment). The following morning, Martin’s boyfriend, Darnell Dodson, told her that Mbakwe told him that he was going back to Minnesota.
An officer went to Mbakwe’s apartment after talking to Martin, but no one answered.
Martin told police that Mbakwe had “removed all of his personal belongings and vacated the apartment.” She also said Mbakwe hadn’t attended any classes since the assault occurred.
The female victim called an officer handling the case – she left “numerous messages” – and said that Mbakwe had been “spotted” at his apartment complex that weekend. Report doesn’t clarify whether the victim said she actually saw Mbakwe.
An officer contacted Miami Dade basketball coach Matthew Dunn, who told him that Mbakwe was in Minnesota.
Dunn said Mbakwe had left the state following the assault he was allegedly involved in.
An officer contacted Mbakwe’s mother in Minnesota. Mbakwe’s mom told police that her son left Miami after “he was being threatened” in Miami. She told police that her son had been in Minnesota since April 3.
Police did not issue a warrant because Mbakwe’s lawyer, Gregory Samms, told them that Mbakwe would cooperate with the investigation and return to Miami to face the charges.
Mbakwe arrives in Miami with his lawyer to face felony assault charges. He “invoked his rights” and “did not provide” any statements. Mbakwe was arrested and eventually released on bond.
Mbakwe’s lawyer submits notice of alibi that says, “the defendant was at his residence” from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. the night the woman was assaulted. Four people are listed as witnesses who can verify Mbakwe’s alibi.
Mbakwe’s lawyer requests and receives a new trial date of Dec. 14.
Maturi allows Mbakwe to practice with the team but says he hasn’t been cleared to compete.
Maturi announces that Mbakwe will not be allowed to play in games until his legal matter is “resolved.” The school’s athletic director said he had to consider the best interests of both Mbakwe and the university.
Mbakwe’s next court hearing related to his legal case in Miami.
Mbakwe scheduled to go to trial in Miami for felony assault charge.
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Through five games, Nebraska Omaha is playing at the third fastest pace in Division I college basketball. (And one of the Mavericks top players is a former Chaska star.)
The Gophers have collected 48 fouls in the last two games, and foul trouble contributed to Minnesota’s 81-68 loss to Texas Tech on Sunday.
The question now is whether Minnesota can move past a bad long weekend and pick up some steam through the rest of this month and next – or whether a not-so-easy slate between now and New Year's will put the Gophers on the path toward the basement.
The Gophers are young and inexperienced and while the future may be bright, the present is tenuous, at best.