How is he looking this season after his knee surgery ?
I haven't seen him play this season. His minutes have increased lately, I dont' know if that is because they brought him along slowly due to the injury or because they were blowing out alot of teams...
If he didn't have that knee injury last season, he may well have been a late first rounder if he declared last season. He will be 24 soon and coming off knee surgery which will hurt his draft chances this year...
He was playing limited minutes early in the season and has been starting for the past 5-6 games. Good game against the Illini last night with 19 points and 11 rebounds against a top 10 team. He hasn't been spectacular but steady for sure. I watch the Gophers closely and hopefully he can help to carry them well into the tournament and we should know more about them over the next few games with Indiana and Michigan coming up in the next week.
Go Go Gophers
He came off the bench in limited minutes early in the year partly because of his injury and partly as punishment for a offseason DWI. He is now starting and looking more and more like the Mbakwe of old.
The Gophers are legit contenders this year and seem to have a solid squad that is stacked with athletes. And now Mbakwe is re-solidifying himself as the best player on the team.
Mbakwe said to the media if the Gophers didn't make it to the tournament he would pay back this years tuition.I guess he knew what he was talking about.
Mbakwe got off to a relatively slow start, but he was coming off an ACL tear and it would have been wrong for Tubby Smith to handle him coming back less than one year later any other way. He hasn't been as explosive a leaper this season, but that is to be expected. The effort level and intelligence level as a rebounder and defender have not waned. The physical part is starting to round back into form for him. He has had a great start to Big Ten play, and obviously the Gophers are one of about five or six Big Ten teams that can probably think about an Elite Eight or Final Four run so the slow start will matter less with time. Come June, my guess is that his leaping will be closer to his old form than to what it is now. He will probably need to 'wow' personnel people with his athletic testing to go on the higher end of the 20-40 range, but at a year and a half out from his tearing his ACL it is possible for him to do so.