March 23, 2012
The University of Minnesota has been informed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that senior forward Trevor Mbakwe has been granted a sixth year of eligibility. Mbakwe suffered an ACL tear to his right knee against Dayton in November and was lost for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery on Dec. 30 to repair the knee.
“The NCAA made the right decision,” said Golden Gopher head coach Tubby Smith. “Trevor has done everything we have asked of him for three years now and he deserves the right to compete for a sixth season.”
“I am certainly excited for the opportunity that the NCAA has given me in a sixth year of eligibility,” said Mbakwe. “I want to thank my family and all of Gopher Nation for all of the support. It has been a difficult season but I am confident that I will be able to return to the type of player I was before the injury.”
Mbakwe, named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team and to the John R. Wooden award watch list, was leading the Gophers in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) at the time of the injury (seven games).
The leading rebounder for Team USA at the World University Games this summer, Mbakwe made an impact in his first season in Gold Country, finishing with a Big Ten Conference-best 10.5 rebounds per game as a junior.
His 327 total rebounds were the third-most in a single-season at Minnesota and the most since Jim Brewer collected 331 rebounds during the 1970-71 season. Mbakwe also averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game to become the first Gopher player to average a double-double since Kris Humphries did so during the 2003-4 season.