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Trevor Mbakwe

David Joles, Star Tribune

GOPHERS MEN'S BASKETBALL

Friday hearing may decide if Mbakwe goes to Florida jail

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO
  • Star Tribune
  • October 18, 2012 - 10:50 AM

Trevor Mbakwe will be in court again Friday, and there is a realistic chance the Gophers forward could go to jail.

Mbakwe is on probation in Florida, where he was found guilty after pleading no contest in February to a felony assault charge from 2009.

At a status report hearing Wednesday, triggered by Mbakwe's September DUI conviction in Minnesota, a Miami-Dade court judge scheduled a probation violation hearing for Friday morning.

Miami Dade State Attorney's Office spokeswoman Terry Chavez said Wednesday that the result of Friday's hearing would either be added probation or jail time.

She said earlier this week that "anything was realistic" and that the decision was up to the judge.

"He's on his third bite of the apple down here," Chavez said Wednesday.

Gophers coach Tubby Smith would not comment on Wednesday's court proceedings, and Athletic Director Norwood Teague deferred comment to Smith and his staff. At Friday's media day, the university acknowledged that Mbakwe was arrested for the DUI in Minnetonka in July, but while the school held him out of some summer activities, Smith allowed him to return to the team.

Smith was asked Friday about Mbakwe's impending Miami court appearances and said to one reporter, "Maybe you know more than I know. I don't know."

Mbakwe's career has been marred by legal problems. After a year at Marquette, he transferred to Miami Dade Community College, where an incident with a woman led to a felony assault charge.

He transferred to Minnesota before the 2009-10 season but was not allowed to play because the Miami charge had yet to go to trial.

Mbakwe was originally enrolled in a pre-trial diversion program for the assault charge, but was "bounced" from the program in January 2011, when Mbakwe sent a Facebook message to a Ramsey County woman who held a restraining order against him.

The woman called police, and Mbakwe was arrested. The university decided against suspending him after he entered the diversion program.

Mbakwe was named second-team All-Big Ten for 2010-11 after averaging 13.9 points and 10.5 rebounds that season.

He started strong last season before going down with an ACL injury in November. This spring, Mbakwe received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.

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