Mbakwe arrested for violating restraining order

  • Article by: ANTHONY LONETREE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2011 - 8:20 AM

The Gophers basketball standout allegedly posted a message on a St. Paul woman's Facebook page, resulting in his arrest.

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Trevor Mbakwe

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Trevor Mbakwe, the Gophers basketball player whose playing debut was delayed by legal troubles, was arrested Monday night for violating a harassment restraining order, St. Paul police said.

The offense, a misdemeanor, stemmed from Mbakwe's alleged posting of a message onto a St. Paul woman's Facebook page -- in violation of a restraining order she had obtained earlier in Dakota County.

The woman reported the violation about 3:30 p.m. Monday. Mbakwe, 21, was arrested in Minneapolis about 7 p.m., and by 11:30 p.m. he had posted his $500 bail and was released from the Ramsey County jail, a jail officer said.

St. Paul police spokesman Andy Skoogman said Monday that he could confirm the woman filed the restraining order, but added state statute prevented him from speaking about the relationship between Mbakwe and the woman.

In a written statement, University of Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi said: "We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Trevor. Until we know all of the facts surrounding the charges it would be premature for us to have any further comment."

Asked by phone about Mbakwe's playing status, Maturi replied: "I have no comment until I know what the facts are."

The Gophers' next game is scheduled for Thursday night against No. 8 Purdue at Williams Arena.

Mbakwe has emerged as one of the best players for the Gophers this season. The 6-8 junior forward is averaging 13.4 points per game, tied with Blake Hoffarber for the team lead, and his 10.4 rebounds per game lead the Big Ten.

A former St. Bernard's and Henry Sibley star, Mbakwe practiced with the Gophers during the 2009-10 season. But he did not play until this season because of a felony assault charge in Miami from April 2009, when he attended Miami-Dade Community College.

That case did not get resolved until last August, when Mbakwe agreed to participate in an intervention program through which he did not admit guilt. The Gophers then reinstated him to the team.

His arrest Monday is the latest in a number of off-the-court issues that have confronted the Gophers.

Junior guard Devoe Joseph was suspended for the first six games of the season for an unspecified violation of team rules, then decided to leave the program earlier this month.

Last season, in addition to Mbakwe's suspension, highly touted freshman Royce White never played for the Gophers, pleading guilty to three charges over two separate incidents in fall 2009. He ultimately transferred to Iowa State.

Staff writer Myron P. Medcalf contributed to this report. Anthony Lonetree • 612-673-4109

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