Talented University of Minnesota forward Trevor Mbakwe has a lot of confidence in his teammates who reached the NIT final last season without him. Mbakwe tore his ACL just before the conference season started. This year, Mbakwe is healthy and is expecting large things for the Golden Gophers.
On Sunday, he tweeted that he would refund the school of his four-year scholarship (approximately $30,000 in value per year when you factor in tuition, books and living expenses) should Minnesota not make the NCAA Tournament this season.
You might remember University of Oklahoma women’s player Courtney Paris pledging that she would pay back her scholarship if OU did not win the national championship in 2009. They lost in the semifinals and Oklahoma did not hold her to her promise.
Minnesota has been a 20-win team four of the past five years, but it only led to two NCAA tournament bids. Since the 1999-2000 season, the Gophers have only danced three times. Mbakwe is Tubby Smith’s go-to guy on the offensive end and was an All-Big Ten performer in the 2010-11 season. But it remains to be seen whether he’ll make it through the year in uniform. Aside from the knee injury, Mbakwe violated the terms of his parole after he was arrested over the summer for a DUI.
While he avoided jail time, one more misstep could cost him his career at Minnesota…and possibly $120,000.