End finally arrives for Mbakwe, Williams

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2013 - 5:55 AM
hide

Trevor Mbakwe walks off the court after the Gophers lost to Florida in the third round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

Photo: Rodolfo Gonzalez, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– Trevor Mbakwe walked out of the glare and looked back at an everyday sight that is no longer guaranteed in his future.

The sixth-year senior had answered many questions at many podiums over many years. Queries about great wins and dispiriting losses. About major successes and heartbreaking failures. About injuries and comebacks, about on-court accomplishments and off-court mishaps.

And when he walked away after the Gophers’ 78-64 loss to Florida on Sunday evening, he knew it was the last time in his collegiate career he would do so.

“I was speechless,” Mbakwe said. “I didn’t really know what to say. Even now, just thinking as far as next year, just knowing that not only is the season over, but my career at the University of Minnesota, too. It’s going to be weird not having practice every day and not getting yelled at by Coach [Tubby] Smith — but now it’s time for the next journey for myself.”

Mbakwe is used to tough questions and reporters asking how his team can pull things together. But it’s not his team anymore.

“Once we stop,” Mbakwe started as he attempted to answer a question about the Gophers’ persistent flaws. He hesitated and started the sentence again. “Once they stop — next year, if they don’t shoot themselves in the foot and play consistently, they’ll be a pretty good team.”

Both he and senior Rodney Williams are hoping to hear their names called at the NBA draft this June, but after a plethora of interruptions for Mbakwe and a track record of inconsistency for Williams, nothing is for certain.

“You never really know,” Williams said. “It’s not up to me, it’s up to those guys. … I just hope they give me a chance to go out there and show my talent.”

Etc.

• Mbakwe on the Gophers’ slow start: “It’s unfortunate that we put ourselves in that position and we get down 15, 17 points to start the game and we find ourselves trying to crawl back into a lead. ... We knew we still had some left in the tank, but unfortunately we couldn’t stop them from shooting the ball.”

• Florida coach Billy Donovan has developed a relationship with Gophers athletic director Norwood Teague, who hired both Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart — former assistants under Donovan at Florida — as head coaches at Teague’s previous school, VCU. Donovan described the phone call in which Teague asked about Grant, now the head coach at Alabama. “I told Norwood, I said, ‘I’m just telling you right now, Norwood, it will be the biggest coup of VCU basketball that you could possibly get of hiring anybody that you could hire out there nationally that would go to VCU.’ And then Anthony obviously went down there and did a great job.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close