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 experiencing some soreness in his knee, but Smith doesn't have plans to change his role anyway

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers players Updated: December 6, 2012 - 7:26 PM

Trevor Mbakwe has experienced some soreness in his knee after playing, coach Tubby Smith said Thursday, but that’s still not the reason for his use of the forward at this point.

“We want to be concerned about that,” Smith said.

But regardless, the coach doesn’t have plans to change the big man’s role, at least not right now.

“I really haven’t had to push it at this point, which is fine because I don’t want to push it,” Smith said. “I want him to healthy when we get to Big Ten play at the end of the year. He’s coming off a major surgery and he’s guy that plays all out … when he goes in, I expect him to go as hard as he can.”

The sixth-year senior is averaging 17.2 minutes a game on the year, but in the past two games have played just 14 and 11 minutes, respectively.

That will likely remain the case unless something drastic happens with someone in the current lineup – of which Smith continually gushes about their chemistry -- or in the case of an injury.

A couple other notes from today’s Gophers media access as the team gets ready to go to LA tomorrow for this weekend’s game vs. USC:

• A win at USC would be No. 500 for Tubby Smith’s career. “That’s a testament to longevity, just being able to stay in the game, a testament to the good players I’ve had, because I haven’t made a shot since 1973,” he said, grinning. “Every shot, every basket scored, every win, it’s not because of me, it’s because of the players I’ve had the good fortune to work with.”

• Smith said he’s seen some encouraging signs lately from Julian Welch -- who has been in a slump all year – but that the change in role from last year to this year for the guard has likely had some effect on his lessened production. “Just adjusting to that -- not being a starter, not getting out there and not getting the minutes, I’m sure that can be frustrating,” Smith said. But it’s how they deal with it, and again, going to the next phase – ‘What’s next coach, what can I do next tohelp this team?’

• Smith said the staff has tried to change Welch’s “line drive” shot, but that he wasn’t sure they’d be able to alter it. “We’re just encouraging him to get out and shoot more and just work on his shot, work on his rotation, which he’s doing as we speak now.”

• Smith said this bunch has the best chemistry as any team he’s had “in a long time.”


St. Louis - LP: K. Siegrist 6 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 7
Toronto 3 Top 3rd Inning
NY Yankees 2
Arizona 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Philadelphia 2
Washington 0 Top 3rd Inning
Cincinnati 0
Boston 1 Bottom 3rd Inning
Tampa Bay 0
San Diego 1 Top 2nd Inning
Atlanta 0
Oakland - J. Hammel 7:05 PM
Texas - J. Williams
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - Y. Gallardo
Miami - B. Hand 7:10 PM
Houston - D. Keuchel
Chicago WSox - J. Danks 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Correia
Cleveland - J. Tomlin 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Pittsburgh - C. Morton 7:40 PM
Colorado - B. Anderson
Detroit - D. Smyly 9:05 PM
LA Angels - T. Skaggs
Baltimore - K. Gausman 9:10 PM
Seattle - F. Hernandez
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 9:15 PM
San Francisco - T. Lincecum
Chivas USA 8:30 PM
Calgary 26 FINAL
Edmonton 22
Winnipeg 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Tulsa 37 3rd Qtr
Washington 49
Chicago 18 1st Qtr 2:56
Atlanta 4
San Antonio 7:00 PM
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