Trevor Mbakwe, a member of the all-Big Ten second team last season, said Thursday that there's a strong chance he'll return to school for his senior season.
He said he's not sure if he'll enter this summer's NBA draft.
"As of today, I’m still leaning toward coming back," Mbakwe said. "I’m still just gathering feedback, seeing who goes and who stays. Me and Coach [Tubby Smith] have been talking all the time. I’m weighing all my options. But I’m definitely leaning toward staying."
Mbakwe talked to the Star Tribune during a pretrial hearing in St. Paul for a legal situation that started when he sent a Facebook message to a woman in January. The note resulted in his arrest because it allegedly violated a restraining order that the woman previously filed against him.
He will have another pretrial hearing May 2 and the case could go to trial. His lawyer, Laura Nolen, said she will challenge the "validity" of the original restraining order.
Last month, Mbakwe was questioned by police after they responded to a property damage call outside a Minneapolis bar. He missed a year due to a felony assault case in Miami that ended when he entered a pretrial intervention program. He never pled guilty in that case.
Mbakwe said he recognizes that NBA executives will question him about his off-court incidents, but he said he's confident that they'll ultimately see his best qualities.
"That’s going to be probably the main concern with them, just how I am off the court," he said. "These last incidents haven’t really been good for me. It’s why I have great people like Coach Smith, people like that who can defend me ... the great student I am, great person, great father. I think I have a lot of stuff going for me. I think actually when it gets down to me talking to [NBA general managers], they’ll see my true character. I've just been involved in some bad situations. … It’s kind of me just rebuilding my image with the whole Miami thing and this thing. It doesn’t look good."