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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Mbakwe faces probation violation hearing Friday; jail time a possibility

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: October 18, 2012 - 11:01 AM
Trevor Mbakwe will be in court again on Friday, and there is a realistic chance the Minnesota forward could go to jail.
 
Wednesday, in a status report hearing that was triggered by Mbakwe’s September DUI conviction in Minnesota, a Miami-Dade court judge scheduled a probation violation hearing for Friday morning.
 
Mbakwe is on probation in Florida after being found guilty of a felony assault charge (he pled no contest)  from 2009.
 
Miami Dade State Attorney’s Office spokesperson Terry Chavez said Wednesday that the result of Friday’s hearing would be either added probation or jail time. She said earlier this week that “anything is realistic.”
 
“He’s on his third bite of the apple down here,” Chavez said.
 
This DUI would not be as critical for Mbakwe had it not been for his situation in St. Paul. Mbakwe was originally in a pre-trial diversion program for the assault charge, but was “bounced” from the program after violating a St. Paul restraining order in 2011 (he posted a message on his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page). That makes the Minnesota DUI his second probation violation and his third strike in Miami-Dade court.
 
“The pretrial diversion program that he originally got is usually given to first-time offenders, which he originally was,” Chavez said. “Basically, it’s like a chance to redeem yourself and start all over.”
Mbakwe lost that opportunity with his next arrest. After he was kicked out of the diversion program, he pled guilty in February of this year and received one year of administrative probation.
 
Mbakwe was arrested for the DUI in Minnetonka in July after failing to pull to the side of the road when a squad car, responding to a burglary call, came up behind him. The University of Minnesota did not acknowledge the incident until Friday, at basketball media day.
 
Addressing his situation on Friday, coach Tubby Smith seemed unaware of Mbakwe missing practices to travel to Miami, and oblivious to the activity in Miami altogether, telling one reporter, “Maybe you more than I know. I don’t know.”
 
Judges start to hear cases at 9 a.m. on Friday and Mbakwe’s case will likely happen sometime that morning.

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