It would have been the most exciting thing to find in an Easter egg on Sunday for Gopher fans – Trevor Mbakwe returning to play another season at Minnesota. But whether or not he is returning remains a mystery, despite hints on Easter Sunday.
Mbakwe tweeted “Unfinished business. I can’t go out like this” on Sunday night to send the Twitter world into a frenzy. In 30 minutes the message was favorited five timed and retweeted 44 times. (Those numbers have probable doubled or tripled by the time you read this.)
I, like many, noticed it right away and sent a response asking if it was an official announcement of any sort. Since I am a small town radio guy I didn’t get a response from Mr. Mbakwe, which, by the way, is fine with me. Shortly after I sent my question he responded to someone else who works for a bigger media company saying it was “not official yet.”
In today’s crazy world of social network and quick announcement of information you have to take those things seriously. But they can also mean nothing. In this instance you have to ask yourself, does this mean he is coming back or is this little act something for attention? It clearly gained attention and it will until an official announcement is made. Gopher nation would love to see him back in uniform, but many wonder if he will jet for the NBA to financially help his family.
Some said the Gophers were better off this season without him. I couldn’t agree more. The Gophers season turned out as successful as it did because he was not able to play. Nothing against Mbakwe, either. It’s simple. The team, which is young in many areas, knew they had a star to rely on. When he went down with an injury it forced others to step up and find themselves as collegiate basketball players.
So if they were better without him then Gopher fans should hope he doesn’t return, right? WRONG! While they may not “need” him per say next season they should definitely have him on a wish list. If Mbakwe returns with this lineup there are good things in store for the Gophers. They will have good, experienced players to join a star and that is a nice situation for Tubby Smith.
If he does not return the team can still be decent, but they won’t be nearly as good. With him they have a chance to make it to the big dance. Without him, unless someone else emerges as a star, they will make it to the NIT at best. That’s the difference one player with this type of talent can make.
So the question remains, will Trevor Mbakwe return for another year of college?
The hopefuls want to say yes, but right now it looks like he may be like that popular, good-looking girl in high school you asked to the prom. She built you up talking about how much fun it would be and then decided to go with the rich fella who had you beat in the “looks” category as well.
Take the teasing (twitter messages) for what it’s worth, but don’t be crushed if he bolts for the NBA.
Update: Mbakwe read this….and responded. To answer: No, I didn’t take it the wrong way….but I’m still a small town radio guy 😉