News out of the Gopher basketball team this morning is the sort that no one likes to see. Trevor Mbakwe, incoming junior college power forward, has been charged with felony assault. The unpleasant details clearly show that if the allegations are true, Mbakwe belongs as far from the basketball team, and society as a whole as possible.
Are the allegations true though? Who knows? This is why we have a legal system after all.
In Mbakwe’s favor, the combination of eye-witness testimony, alcohol, a dark street, and a head injury are far from an ideal situation to make a positive identification. Throw in the fact that the accuser picked Mbakwe’s picture off his junior-college basketball team’s website where Mbakwe doesn’t look particularly unique. At the same time, the police felt they had enough information to press charges.
Mbakwe claims it is a case of mistaken identity, and he would know best. Either he commited the crime or he didn’t. If he didn’t, and one of his old teammates did, he would also know that.
This will sort itself out eventually, and obviously will have consequences on the upcoming season. At best this is an unpleasant distraction for the team. At worst, there will be a big whole in the front court.