Trevor Mbakwe, Danny Thompson

Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe channels his inner Courtney Paris with guarantee

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To say that it was a tough offseason for Minnesota senior power forward Trevor Mbakwe would be an understatement. On the heels of a torn ACL that robbed him of much of the 2011-12 campaign, a violation of his probation very nearly landed Mbakwe in jail.

But after avoiding jail time (he now has two additional years of probation) Mbakwe is ready to help Tubby Smith’s team get back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

The Golden Gophers, despite being picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten preseason poll, have the talent needed to make a return to the Big Dance.

And with that in mind, Mbakwe guaranteed on Twitter that if Minnesota doesn’t earn an NCAA bid he’ll repay his scholarship for this season.

In the tweets Mbakwe expressed both his confidence in and his love for his teammates, players who will need a healthy Mbakwe if they’re to be a factor in the Big Ten.

The guarantee, if you recall what former Oklahoma All-American Courtney Paris did a few years ago, isn’t as risky as one would believe.

Paris, a power forward on the Sooners’ 2009 Final Four team, guaranteed a national title to the Lloyd Noble Center crowd on “Senior Night” and vowed to repay her scholarship (approximately $64,000 value at the time) for all four years if Oklahoma didn’t win it all.

“I have a passion for our fans and university, and I want to do something special,” said Paris. “That’s why I put my scholarship on the table. I meant what I said.”

Ultimately the Sooners fell 61-59 to Louisville in the Final Four that season, and the school announced a week later that they wouldn’t hold Paris to the guarantee.

Could the same thing happen for Mbakwe if for the valiant efforts of he and his teammates Minnesota still fell short of its goal?

Guarantees have long been a “tradition” of sorts in sports, but in many cases the most an athlete would have to pay if they were wrong would be ridicule from fans, opponents and the media.

Mbakwe’s essentially written a check with his guarantee, and the hope for he and his teammates is that they (and not the bursar’s office) will be able to cash it come March.

h/t CBS Sports

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.