March 9, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Trevor Mbakwe (32) rests on the bench during a game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Mackey Arena. Purdue defeats Minnesota 89-73. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Former Gopher power forward Trevor Mbakwe had a workout with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday where he drew applause from fellow NBA draft prospects and others in attendance after he demonstrated his improved jump shot, according to the Pioneer Press.
Mbakwe, who has been Minnesota’s leading rebounder in the last few seasons, is working hard to show his potential future employers in the NBA that he’s not just a rebounder, but also a scoring threat away from the paint.
The 24-year-old from St. Paul is straddling a line between a late second-round draft pick and an undrafted free agent. But Mbakwe has at least four more workouts planned before the June 27 draft and already has nine workouts under his belt.
Mbakwe averaged almost a double-double in each of his three seasons with the Gophers. He has not averaged less than 8.7 rebounds per game while averaging no less than 10 points per game from 2010-13.
Mbakwe tore his ACL in the early stages of the 2011-12 season, but has been relatively healthy since the injury that sat him out the season.
“I’m probably in the best shape of my life so far right now, coming back from my ACL,” said Mbakwe to Marcus Fuller of the Pioneer Press.
- Two Minnesota prep stars were named finalists for the Nike Elite Basketball Youth League Offensive Player of the Year: Apple Valley’s Tyus Jones and Robbinsdale Cooper’s Rashad Vaughn. Jones averaged 22.8 points per game while dishing an average of 6.9 assists per contest. Vaughn averaged 19.4 points per game.
- Vaughn’s father announced to 1500 ESPN on Monday that his son will not be returning to Robbinsdale Cooper High School for his senior year. He will be looking to transfer to either Huntington Prep or Findlay Prep next year, according to sources.
- Gopher football coach Jerry Kill received a commitment from one of the nation’s top offensive centers in Connor Mayes of Texas on Monday.
- Former University of Minnesota volleyball player Lauren Gibbemeyer and current Gopher Daly Santana played in the 2013 Pan American Cup this past weekend in Peru. Gibbemeyer won a gold medal with the United States and Santana helped Puerto Rico qualify for the World Grand Prix.