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.

  Follow Rayno on Twitter @AmeliaRayno

Buzz about former Gophers' Mbakwe and Williams

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under Gophers players Updated: May 23, 2013 - 3:44 PM

Former Gophers players Trevor Mbakwe and Rodney Williams were far from being considered highly touted NBA draft prospects when the pair left Minnesota behind at the end of the season.

Williams wasn’t invited to the NBA draft combine, and both have flickered in and out of mock drafts, mainly amongst the mid-to-low second round selections.

But in the last couple weeks, the two have turned some heads, each in their own way.

Here are just a few of the things that are being discussed:

Mbakwe:

• First, an interesting and nicely done story with Mbakwe’s thoughts from our NBA reporter, Jerry Zgoda.

• There has been a lot of talk about Mbakwe being undersized, but some of the measurements wowed. For a player that is 6-8, the power forward’s 7-4 wingspan is awe-inducing.

• Mbakwe also owns the biggest mitts at this year’s combine, his hand width measuring 11.5 inches and he’s tied for second (with Royce White of all people) in that category for at least the past four years.

• It’s also been noted how fit he is – Mbakwe’s body fat came in at just 5.9 percent.

• Mbakwe’s sprint time at the combine was among the fastest for big men at 3.32.

• New Timberwolves Director of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders had some nice things to say about Mbakwe’s performance. So did a few others. And let it be known that the 24-year-old has clearly not lost his spirit.


Williams:

• While the four-year Gophers player didn’t participate at Chicago’s combine, he did attend the pre-NBA draft combine in Rutherford, N.J. and continued to wow with his athleticism, long the instigator of many gaping mouths. His 36-inch no-step and 42.5-inch max vertical leap would have ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in this year’s combine had he participated, according to Draft Express.

• That vertical leap? Good enough to be in the top 10 all-time.

• Saunders had some nice things to say about Williams too, who apparently also had the best time in the defensive slide.
 

A few mock drafts:

*Draft Express has Trevor Mbakwe getting drafted in the second round and Rodney Williams not at all.

*CBS Sports has Rodney Williams getting drafted at No. 50 overall and Trevor Mbakwe at No. 53.

*NBADraft.net also has Mbakwe going at No. 53 and Williams at No. 57.

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