As it turns out, Minnesota Golden Gophers star Trevor Mbakwe isn’t going to have to worry about missing a couple of games this season for a probation violation related to an assault case against a female.
Golden Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said his star player had been punished enough as he did receive two more years of probation.
The move makes sense. With Minnesota closing in on the beginning of its season, it doesn’t need any more distractions, especially now that it is dealing with the Saul Smith situation as well.
Sitting Mbakwe for a few games would merely attract more questions from the media and it would take away from Minnesota’s focus on basketball.
Mbakwe now has to make sure his focus stays on basketball because if he messes up again, he likely won’t get another shot.
The senior needs to do what he can to help his team succeed through his performance on the floor and by being a leader and stay out of trouble off the court.
Mbakwe, a preseason first-team All-Big Ten selection, is poised for a big year after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered early last season.
He averaged 14 points and 9 rebounds per game before the injury and if he plays up to his potential, he will have a chance to be one of the better post players in the Big Ten this year.
I’m sure no one has to remind Mbakwe that if he lives up the expectations, the Golden Gophers have a shot to be in the mix for a conference title.
My guess is that he will play at a high level this season and I have a feeling he has learned from his mistakes.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist and college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.