The ending to Minnesota’s loss was as wacky as any finish we have seen this season.
After Traevon Jackson had a shot bounce off the rim, off of the back board and through with 1.7 seconds left, Trevor Mbakwe was fouled as he battled with Mike Breusewitz for the ensuing inbounds pass.
Rodney Williams eventually hit one-of-two from the free throw line, meaning that the Gophers lost to the Badgers. That was their fourth straight loss, a fact that got played up in the media and on TV.
But what wasn’t mentioned all that much was the fact that Mbakwe didn’t shoot his free throws after getting fouled. He somehow managed to hurt his wrist on the play, but the concern, according to Minnesota beat writer Amelia Rayno, is that it may not have been the first time he hurt the wrist:
This is the second time in two games that Mbakwe has had issues with the hand. In the second half against Northwestern, Mbakwe took a hard fall, landed strangely on the wrist and laid on the court for nearly a minute before walking off.
After that game, Mbakwe told the media it was something he’d been rehabbing, even though we hadn’t heard about any problems with it previously.
This morning on the media teleconference, coach Tubby Smith said that Mbakwe was fine and practiced yesterday, but that he’s just been dealing with some soreness.
“I guess he got whacked on it pretty good there, [against Wisconsin] but he did shoot that shot,” Smith said. “That’s a reactionary thing. It’s just get it up there quickly, but I guess after he had a chance to think about it it really bothered him so he couldn’t shoot those free throws.”
Mbakwe said he won’t be missing any game time, and there are those out there that think he faked the injury in an effort to get a better free throw shooter to the foul line. I doubt that, which means that in addition to the Gopher’s four game losing streak, Minnesota fans might want to keep an eye on Mbakwe’s wrist.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.