MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Multiple sources told WCCO-TV’s Mike Max Thursday night that University of Minnesota star forward Trevor Mbakwe has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.
Mbakwe tore his ACL early in the season and had been contemplating turning professional after the season. Now that he’s been granted another year of eligibility, it’s up to him if he decides to accept it play another season for the Gophers.
Mbakwe already has his undergraduate degree and is still pursuing at least one degree in graduate school. He led the Gophers in scoring and rebounding before his season-ending injury.
It comes as big news for a team that lacked the dominating type of player the Gophers had inside once Mbakwe went down. Ralph Sampson III is graduating, and the other post players coming back are Elliott Eliason, Andre Ingram and Maurice Walker, who redshirted this season after going through off-season knee surgery.
There’s no guarantee that Mbakwe will take the extra year, but he at least has the option now. Between injuries and previous legal issues that are now resolved, he’s had a roller-coaster basketball career.
The current Gophers team is still focused on this season as they will travel to Madison Square Garden and take on Washington in the NIT semifinals next Tuesday night.
The University of Minnesota will make the announcement on Friday.