Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 4/16/12
MINNEAPOLIS Trevor Mbakwe is coming back. In a YouTube video released Monday, the University of Minnesota men's basketball team announced that Mbakwe will return to the Gophers for the 2012-13 season and put his professional basketball career on hold. Mbakwe was granted a sixth year of eligibility after tearing his ACL on Nov. 27. In the video, soon-to-be senior Rodney Williams walks onto the Williams Arena court and finds Mbakwe shooting free throws. "Yo Trev, let's go," Williams says. "What you doing man?" Mbakwe looks at Williams, looks away makes a free throw without saying anything. Williams asks him, "You coming back?" To which Mbakwe replies: "I'm coming back. We have some unfinished business." Before to his injury, Mbakwe was averaging a team-high 14.0 points and 9.1 rebounds. During his breakout junior season, he scored 13.9 points per game while grabbing a Big Ten-best 10.5 boards per game. The 6-foot-8 Mbakwe suffered the knee injury in late November in a game against Dayton. At the time, it was uncertain whether he'd be granted a sixth year by the NCAA. After playing one year each at Marquette and Miami Dade Community College, Mbakwe transferred to Minnesota but sat out the 2009-10 season while dealing with off-the-court legal issues. But despite all of that, he was granted a sixth year of eligibility, and now he'll be using it. With Mbakwe's return, the Gophers look to be much-improved on their 23-15 finish during the 2011-12 season that saw them go just 6-12 in the Big Ten. Minnesota advanced to the NIT Championship game before losing to Stanford by 24. With Mbakwe and Williams leading the way as seniors, Minnesota should be an NCAA Tournament team in 2012-13. Williams was the Gophers' leading scorer after Mbakwe went down. He averaged 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a junior. Minnesota also saw the emergence of freshman point guard Andre Hollins, who scored 20 or more points in both Big Ten Tournament games and had two 20-plus point games in the NIT Tournament. Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
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