This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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In the words of Trevor Mbakwe: the forward on Rodney Williams, Andre Hollins and more.

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: August 5, 2012 - 2:04 PM
I talked to Gophers returning sixth-year senior Trevor Mbakwe for a story that ran in yesterday’s paper, and the forward had plenty of interesting things to say. Beyond the topics that got in yesterday’s article (the status of his ACL rehab, his decision to return to the Gophers, his thoughts on this fall’s team), I thought there were other items worth noting here:
 
On returning from an ACL tear: “Initially when we started doing drills on the ball and I’d be cutting, changing directions, things like that, I was kind of nervous and everything, but with time and patience, I just continued to gain confidence in my knee and trust that the doctor did a great job.
 
“There’s times I kind of think about it in my head, when I move it, and I think ‘Am I going to hurt myself?’ But for the most part, I trust that my knee is doing pretty well.”
 
Mbakwe said he is a little bit ahead of schedule and is about a month away from playing to full contact on the court.
 
On Rodney Williams: “Rodney … took it to a whole new level at the end of the postseason. I’ve been with Rodney since we came in together. We always expected that and we always saw bits and pieces of that. It’s just him being more aggressive. People say ‘Oh, his natural position is the 4,’ but I think he can do the same thing at the 3 spot and have the same advantage.: his quickness and athleticism, not many people in the country can compete with him athletically … This is his last go-round and I think he wants to just show everybody the kind of player that he is – that he’s not just one-dimensional.”
 
On Andre Hollins: “Since he came on campus last summer, I was always a big fan of Andre. He would take the winning shot in open gym and he just had that demeanor like he wasn’t scared of anything. He had that mentality of all great guards. I wasn’t surprised at all [with how he played in the postseason]. I think we all expected that out of Andre when he came here … At the end of the season, you could see he was playing with so much confidence. He played with Trey Burke and they were going at it. I think Andre’s going to have a big season and we’re going to need him. Need him to keep being aggressive.”
 
On Mo Walker: “That’s the biggest thing, just keeping him on the court. I was there at Pulley when he sprained his ankle, and it’s just getting over that. Mo’s a big guy and he’s definitely going to be a big piece. When we add his size and what he can do on the court, it’s going to make it so much better for our teammates and just myself. He can guard some of the bigger players and try to take some of that pounding away from me. I played with him his freshman year, we were kind of like the second team initially when we first got there. I love playing with him. He’s smart, he’s a smart player. And he’s been looking pretty good lately in practice, and we’ve just got to keep him healthy.”
 
On freshmen Wally Ellenson and Charles Buggs: “They’re great. It’s just making that transition that every freshman has to make. It’s a lot more physical and there’s a lot more terminology in college and your athleticism can only take you so far. There is always someone who is stronger, quicker, more athletic than you are. But they’re hard workers. Wally’s in the gym all the time. He’s a gym rat and I love that about him. And Charles is a great guy too. They’re both willing to learn. There’s ties we’re going to need them for spurts. I don’t know how much they’re going to play, because we’re kind of a deep team, but that’s a positive thing about us. They’re going to have their moments like every freshman has, but just as long as they keep working hard.
 
On the Battle 4 Atlantis, the tournament the Gophers will be playing in over Thanksgiving: We’re all pretty excited. The chance to go to the Bahamas, No. 1, get out of Minnesota winter. We get a chance to play Coach (Mike) K(rzyzewski, the head coach of Duke, Minnesota’s first-round matchup). A few of us were here when we played North Carolina in Puerto Rico (in 2010). That would be pretty cool to beat both North Carolina and Duke. We have some great pre-season games before the regular season starts. It’s exciting anytime you get a chance to play against Duke, and I think it will be a good test to show where we are at the time. It’s going to be a good chance for us. Right after that, we’re going to Florida State, which is not an easy place to play. It’s definitely going to be a good stretch.”

 

 

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Seattle
Portland 0 Postponed
Brooklyn 0
Sacramento 0 Postponed
New York 0
Philadelphia 44 3rd Qtr 10:09
New Orleans 57
Minnesota 40 3rd Qtr
Oklahoma City 48
Orlando 51 3rd Qtr 10:55
Memphis 67
Boston 11 1st Qtr 6:25
Utah 6
Denver 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
Army 68 FINAL
American Univ 66
Wright State 64 FINAL
Detroit 53
Syracuse 83 FINAL
North Carolina 93
Cleveland State 56 FINAL
Oakland 59
Delaware State 54 FINAL
NC Central 55
High Point 63 FINAL
Presbyterian 54
Howard 35 2nd Half 3:40
Bethune-Cookman 36
Coppin State 56 2nd Half 11:59
NC A&T 55
Nicholls 51 FINAL
Northwestern St 80
Hampton 54 2nd Half 0:39
SC State 63
Gardner-Webb 40 2nd Half 12:01
Campbell 54
MD-Eastern Shore 39 2nd Half
Florida A&M 30
Stephen F Austin 51 2nd Half 14:35
Lamar 33
Central Arkansas 42 2nd Half 15:25
New Orleans 60
Norfolk State 44 2nd Half 11:58
Savannah State 35
TX A&M-CC 45 2nd Half 13:30
SE Louisiana 41
Sam Houston St 55 2nd Half 15:19
Abilene Christian 39
McNeese State 74 2nd Half 6:50
Incarnate Word 63
Milwaukee 35 2nd Half 8:34
Valparaiso 61
Alcorn State 21 1st Half 7:40
Alabama A&M 28
Southern U 20 1st Half 11:42
Alabama State 10
Prairie View 8:00 PM
Ark-Pine Bluff
Texas 14 1st Half 11:59
Iowa State 14
Texas Southern 21 1st Half 3:04
Miss Valley St 27
Long Island 85 FINAL
Bryant 88
Central Conn St 51 FINAL
St Francis-NY 49
Fairleigh Dickinson 0 Postponed
Sacred Heart 0
St Francis-PA 87 FINAL
Wagner 74
Delaware State 59 FINAL
NC Central 66
Howard 53 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 61
Coppin State 49 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 88 FINAL
SC State 53
Norfolk State 54 FINAL
Savannah State 56
MD-Eastern Shore 54 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Angelo State 55 FINAL
Abilene Christian 70
Samford 32 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 49
Prairie View 83 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Alcorn State 58 FINAL
Alabama A&M 55
Southern U 53 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 52
(12) Texas A&M 61 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 79
Robert Morris 68 FINAL
Mount St Marys 44
East Tenn St 72 FINAL
Mercer 70
Wofford 56 FINAL
Furman 58
Morehead St 64 FINAL
Tenn Tech 54
Illinois 57 FINAL
Michigan 70
Quinnipiac 0 Postponed
Manhattan 0
Saint Peters 0 Postponed
Rider 0
(18) Miss State 11 1st Half 11:36
Auburn 5
(15) Nebraska 22 1st Half 8:09
(20) Iowa 15

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