Looking at the Gophers' big three of Mbakwe, Sampson and Williams

  • Updated: November 6, 2011 - 7:15 AM

TREVOR MBAKWE

Scouting report: Tenacious rebounder and Gophers' top scoring threat in the paint.

Career to date: As a junior, led the Gophers with 13.9 points per game, and his 327 rebounds were the third most in a single season in team history. Redshirted 2009-10 because of legal issues in Florida. Played one year each at Miami Dade junior college and Marquette.

Needs to improve: With Blake Hoffarber gone, Mbakwe is expected to lead the team, on and off the court. Has worked over the summer to improve his jump shot and hopes to boost his 63 percent mark at the free-throw line.

RALPH SAMPSON III

Scouting report: Has the size to be an inside force and possesses a good outside shot for a big man.

Career to date: Has steadily improved since his freshman season. His 63 blocks last season rank fourth on the Gophers' all-time list. Averaged 10.2 points per game last season.

Needs to improve: His lack of a consistent inside presence has been criticized; needs to be more aggressive in the paint and play a leadership role.

RODNEY WILLIAMS

Scouting report: Explosive, athletic wing who has the tools to score.

Career to date: Erratic contributor as a freshman, started 28 games as a sophomore and averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Needs to improve: Shot 21.3 percent on three-pointers and 49.2 percent on free throws last season; has yet to put his awe-inspiring tools together for a big season; began reconstructing the mechanics of his shot over the offseason.

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