Trevor Mbakwe’s sentence gets decided on Friday

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Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe has done a lot of dumb things during his college career.

Sending a facebook message to an ex-girlfriend that has an active no-contact order against him? That’s dumb. Really freakin’ dumb. Getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking? That’s even dumber.

But that doesn’t make Mbakwe a criminal deserving of jail time. It hardly makes him a bad person more than a college kid that needs to make a serious improvement in his decision making skills.

Unfortunately for Mbakwe, those two incidents could very well land him in jail down in Florida.

Back in April 2009, Mbakwe was arrested for assaulting a woman in Miami while he attended Miami-Dade Community College. He wasn’t initially convicted of the crime, and it very well could have been a case of mistaken identity, like Mbakwe claimed. 16 months passed and Mbakwe was forced to fit out an entire season of hoops at Minnesota while dealing with the charges. In August of 2010, without enough evidence available to convict him, Mbakwe agreed to a six-month pretrial program that burdened him with some community service hours and a fine, but was not in anyway an admission of guilt as much as it was an attempt to get on with his life and continue his basketball career.

But it was in January of 2011, not even the full six months after he agreed to the pretrial program, that Mbakwe sent that fateful facebook message and got arrested. The result? Getting booted from the program and, eventually, a no contest plea in the Florida case this past February. To spare you the legalese, what that means is that Mbakwe was found guilty of a felony battery charge, but he was not convicted and did not admit guilt. Yes, that is possible.

He was given probation as part of his sentence, which he violated when he got the DUI in July. That’s why he is currently in Florida, awaiting a decision on whether or not he’s headed to jail. Amelia Rayno of the Star-Tribune dug up what could happen during Friday’s hearing after talking to a Miami attorney familiar with the laws and the judge in this case:

Mait said Florida uses a point system to determine minimum sentence guidelines, and based on the points Mbakwe has accumulated for his offenses he could be in for a long prison sentence.

But according to Mait, this scenario is more likely: Samms will approach the prosecutor ahead of Friday’s hearing and try to work out a deal to present to the judge. This could include an alternative to jail time, such as community control (house arrest). Or it could include a modification of the probation itself, to include, for example a 30-day jail sentence (30 days being an arbitrary length).

“Generally, as long as the state’s (prosecutor) offer is a reasonable offer, the judge is going to go with whatever the state’s OK with,” Mait said.

The next question is how this will affect Mbakwe’s status on the team, but that’s another post for another day. Safe to say, Minnesota likely wouldn’t be too thrilled if Mbakwe had to spend time in jail. (Although they did say his status would be unchanged if he only received more probation.)

What has to be frustrating about all of this for Mbakwe is that it all stems from an incident that he has always claimed was misidentification. If he wasn’t faced with potentially missing the start of a second basketball season back in August of 2010, he may never have accepted any kind of punishment from that initial court case. And if he never agreed to a pretrial program, than a facebook message and a DUI wouldn’t have been anything more than a wake-up call.

Instead, Mbakwe might end up being sentenced to serve jail time on Friday.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Grand Canyon lands Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson

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Grand Canyon landed an important piece for its NCAA tournament push on Saturday night as Oregon graduate transfer guard Casey Benson pledged to the Antelopes.

The 6-foot-3 Benson will be eligible right away as spent the past three seasons with the Ducks as a key reserve guard, helping Oregon to multiple deep NCAA tournament runs. Benson picked Grand Canyon over Wisconsin for his final season of college basketball as Benson’s brother, T.J., is an assistant coach with the Antelopes.

Benson shot 40 percent from three-point range last season while also being a steady ball handler over the course of his career at Oregon as he has only 81 career turnovers in over 2,600 career minutes with the Ducks. While Benson wasn’t asked to score a lot for a loaded Oregon team that featured multiple bucket-getters, he could be asked to do more at Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon is eligible for the NCAA tournament for the first time next season as the addition of Benson gives them an experienced guard who should be more of a factor in the WAC. The Antelopes are coming off of a 22-9 season in which they finished 11-3 in conference play.

With great facilities and a quickly-growing fan base, head coach Dan Majerle has the potential makings of a perennial mid-major conference contender if he continues to recruit well to Grand Canyon.

Colorado adds commitment from Class of 2017 point guard McKinley Wright

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Colorado landed one of the best available point guards for next season on Friday as Class of 2017 floor general McKinley Wright committed during an official visit.

A former Dayton commit who opted out of his recruitment after former head coach Archie Miller took the Indiana job, Wright was one of the best available point guards left as he played last weekend on the adidas Gauntlet in front of college coaches with D1 Minnesota.

The 6-foot-0 Wright gives the Buffaloes another ball handler and distributor as he was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball during this past season. As a senior, Wright averaged 22.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game.

It’s always hard to say if spring recruits who elevate a level in recruiting after decommitting are making the correct decision, but Wright looked the part of a high-major lead guard last weekend, and Colorado wasn’t the only high-major program that was pushing hard to add Wright at this late stage.

Oral Roberts to hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills

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Oral Roberts has found its new head coach as they will hire Baylor assistant coach Paul Mills, as first reported by NBCSports.com’s Rob Dauster.

Mills had been on staff with the Bears since 2003 as he’s been a big factor in why head coach Scott Drew has been able to turn around that program. A graduate of Texas A&M, Mills has been a full-time assistant at Baylor since the 2009 season.

“I am honored to accept this role of representing this historic institution, its students and its mission,” Mills said in a release. “Making this commitment today is a highlight of my career and I look forward with excitement to the basketball season directly ahead. Go Golden Eagles.”

Mills will replace former head coach Scott Sutton, who was relieved of his duties this offseason after 18 years at the helm.

 

Iowa commit Connor McCaffery to redshirt in basketball to pursue baseball

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Iowa commit Connor McCaffery is in a unique spot when he starts his freshman year in Iowa City next year.

Not only is the 6-foot-4 guard the son of basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, while being a four-star national basketball prospect, but Connor also has a bright future in baseball.

There was a lot of speculation as to what Connor might do for his future in athletics and he gave more clarification on what he might be looking to do on Friday.

McCaffery has decided to redshirt in basketball next season to focus on the beginnings of his baseball career at Iowa. A walk-on for both sports, the move enables Connor McCaffery to potentially play three years of basketball with his younger brother, Patrick, who is also a heralded basketball recruit for Iowa. This move also gives Connor the best chance to pursue both sports while he’ll also help out a young Iowa basketball team with its tough scholarship scenario.

Butler, Chris Holtmann agree to a contract extension

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Butler has agreed to a contract extension with head coach Chris Holtmann, the school announced on Friday, that will keep him under contract through 2025.

“Butler truly is a special place, and my family and I are thankful to be part of a great academic institution and an athletics department that is a source of pride for those who embrace Butler and The Butler Way,” said Holtmann. “Our student-athletes, our staff, and so many throughout our campus are remarkable at what they do, and I’m excited to continue to work alongside them.”

Holtmann was named Big East Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 25-9 record and a spot in the Sweet 16. In three years with the program, Holtmann has a record of 70-31.

“Chris is a tremendous ambassador for Butler and the Butler Way, and his leadership has resulted in success both on and off the court for the talented young men in our program,” said Butler Vice President/Director of Athletics Barry Collier. “This commitment – both by our university and by Chris – allows the momentum within our program to continue.”

Holtmann was in the mix for a couple of jobs this spring, including N.C. State and Missouri.