After Mbakwe's apology, U ready to move on

  • Article by: MYRON P. MEDCALF , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 13, 2011 - 3:21 PM

Trevor Mbakwe said he was sorry his arrest caused a distraction as the team prepared to play the Boilermakers.

A multitude of reporters spilled onto the Williams Arena floor Wednesday afternoon. As Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith approached, two cameramen pushed and shoved each other to secure a good angle.

Smith, familiar with the kind of frenzy that follows controversy such as the Monday arrest of junior forward Trevor Mbakwe, scoffed at the unusually large media gathering the day before his team faces eighth-ranked Purdue.

"Must be an important game here tomorrow. Got a big crowd out here. Welcome," a not-so-happy Smith said.

But instead of discussing the significance of the pending matchup against the Boilermakers, players and coaches answered questions about another off-court distraction.

Mbakwe, who Smith said will not start against the Boilermakers, apologized for the latest incident. He sent a Facebook message to a 22-year-old woman Sunday. The woman, an ex-girlfriend, called police, who arrested Mbakwe on Monday for allegedly violating a harassment restraining order she'd requested two years ago.

Smith and athletic director Joel Maturi opted against suspending Mbakwe, who missed the entire 2009-10 season because of a felony assault charge in Miami. He never pleaded guilty to the April 2009 incident, but he entered a pretrial intervention program to resolve the case.

"I'd just like to say I'd like to apologize to my teammates and my family and all of Gopher Nation for my poor judgment," said Mbakwe, the Gophers' co-scoring leader with Blake Hoffarber (13.4 points per game) and the Big Ten's top rebounder (10.4 per game). "Unfortunately, everything played out the way it happened. It was just me trying to reach out and be generous, but it backfired on me. I'd just like to apologize to everybody for this being a distraction to the team, and I'm just looking forward to in the future, hopefully getting this behind me."

Smith said Mbakwe also will face undisclosed consequences beyond not starting against Purdue.

"We're disappointed in him not adhering to the rule and disappointed that he did that, and I think he's learned a serious lesson about that," Smith said. "When you don't obey the rules or a court order, it brings a negative publicity to this program, to the university. We feel like we looked at it, we evaluated it. He's not going to start. There are other things we're going to do internally that he's going to have to do, so he can understand that that's not going to be tolerated, that's not going to happen. So having said that, that's where we are with the whole Trevor Mbakwe situation."

Smith then tried to steer the conversation away from Mbakwe's latest problem.

"I'll take any questions about Purdue and the Boilermakers, because that's what I'm focused on in that point in time," Smith said. "If you're not, then maybe you need to excuse yourself, OK? So if you have any questions about Purdue and us and our program, I'm ready to answer."

These Gophers should be used to distractions. Royce White? Gone since last February after a shoplifting charge, campus laptop theft investigation and YouTube announcement that preceded his decision to leave the team and quit school. Devoe Joseph? He missed the first six games of the year for violating team rules. Then he abruptly left the program and transferred to Oregon earlier this week, after averaging in double figures scoring.

Plus, Al Nolen missed most of last season because of academic troubles, two other players transferred after last season and there was a $1 million judgment against Smith and the university after would-be Gophers assistant Jimmy Williams claimed the school reneged on a job offer.

Mbakwe spent several hours in jail Monday night, briefly putting the Gophers' hopes for a successful season in jeopardy. But Mbakwe, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds in a 67-64 loss at No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday, will continue to play, although Smith wouldn't say how many minutes he will get Thursday.

Colton Iverson will move into the starting lineup against Purdue. Because of suspensions and injuries, the Gophers have used five starting lineups this season.

The Boilermakers enter the game as the more stable team. When they lost forward Robbie Hummel because of a torn ACL during the first week of practice, many assumed the Boilermakers would spiral into mediocrity.

Instead, they're 15-1 and they possess the No. 9 RPI, according to But this is their first game against a team ranked in a major poll (the Gophers are No. 25 in the USA Today coaches poll).

But unlike the Gophers, Purdue players didn't spend the week wondering about the status of one of their star players.

"I think you just gotta not worry about what's going on off the court and just worry about what's going on on the court," Hoffarber said. "I feel like the last couple of years we've kind of had a lot of off-the-court issues, but I think last year made us more experienced to that."

Duke's 25-game run stops on a rough stretch of ACC road. C5


    Up next: 6 tonight vs. No. 8 Purdue

    Williams Arena • TV: ESPN (830-AM)


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Minnesota 16 FINAL
Buffalo 17
Atlanta 7 FINAL
Baltimore 29
Tennessee 17 FINAL
Washington 19
Seattle 26 FINAL
St. Louis 28
Cleveland 6 FINAL
Jacksonville 24
Cincinnati 0 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Miami 27 FINAL
Chicago 14
New Orleans 23 FINAL
Detroit 24
Carolina 17 FINAL
Green Bay 38
Kansas City 23 FINAL
San Diego 20
Arizona 24 FINAL
Oakland 13
NY Giants 21 FINAL
Dallas 31
San Francisco 17 FINAL
Denver 42
Houston 10/20/14 7:30 PM
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Boston 95 FINAL
Brooklyn 90
Minnesota 112 FINAL
Oklahoma City 94
Golden State 83 FINAL
Houston 90
Charlotte 96 FINAL
Chicago 101
Utah 91 FINAL
LA Lakers 98
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
San Jose 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Calgary 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
St. Louis 0 FINAL
Anaheim 3
TX-San Antonio 20 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 27
Syracuse 30 FINAL
Wake Forest 7
Purdue 38 FINAL
Minnesota 39
Western Ky 38 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 45
(12) Baylor 27 FINAL
(22) West Virginia 41
(11) Kansas State 31 FINAL
(17) Oklahoma 30
Iowa 31 FINAL
Maryland 38
So Florida 38 FINAL
Tulsa 30
Tulane 13 FINAL
UCF 20
Virginia 13 FINAL
Duke 20
Akron 20 FINAL
Ohio U 23
Western Mich 26 FINAL
Bowling Green 14
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
Massachusetts 36
Appalachian St 53 FINAL
Troy 14
(25) UCLA 36 FINAL
California 34
Texas A&M 0 FINAL
(4) Alabama 59
Army 17 FINAL
Kent State 39
Kansas 21 FINAL
Texas Tech 34
Middle Tennessee 34
Rutgers 17 FINAL
(13) Ohio State 56
(8) Michigan State 56 FINAL
Indiana 17
New Mexico 31 FINAL
Air Force 35
NC State 18 FINAL
Louisville 30
(21) Clemson 17 FINAL
Boston College 13
Ball State 32 FINAL
Central Mich 29
Cincinnati 41 FINAL
(9) Georgia 45 FINAL
Arkansas 32
Oklahoma State 9 FINAL
(10) TCU 42
San Jose St 27 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Miami-Ohio 41 FINAL
Northern Ill 51
New Mexico St 17 FINAL
Idaho 29
Colorado 28 FINAL
(20) USC 56
(23) Marshall 45 FINAL
FIU 13
Southern Miss 30 FINAL
North Texas 20
Georgia Tech 43 FINAL
North Carolina 48
Tennessee 3 FINAL
(3) Ole Miss 34
Utah State 13 FINAL
Colorado State 16
Missouri 42 FINAL
Florida 13
Kentucky 3 FINAL
(24) LSU 41
(16) Nebraska 38 FINAL
Northwestern 17
Georgia State 27 FINAL
South Alabama 30
Washington 20 FINAL
(6) Oregon 45
Iowa State 45 FINAL
Texas 48
(7) Notre Dame 27 FINAL
(2) Florida State 31
Nevada 42 FINAL
BYU 35
Stanford 10 FINAL
(14) Arizona State 26
Hawaii 10 FINAL
San Diego St 20
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Columbus 3 FINAL
Red Bull New York 1
Seattle 2 FINAL
Los Angeles 2
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA




question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question