Though the calendar keeps creeping towards June and next season is little more than an afterthought for most people, the Gopher basketball team continues to stay in the local, and national, headlines.
In a story that developed and ended quickly, sophomore point guard Justin Cobbs decided to transfer from Minnesota and enroll at the University of California. Cobbs, a native Californian, was unable to make a significant impact in his freshman year for the Gophers, which isn’t surprising considering the depth of last season’s team. With rumblings of Cory Joseph considering the Gophers, the presence of Al Nolen and Devoe Joseph’s rise to backup PG duty, Cobbs’ playing time was not slated to increase and he decided to pack up and go elsewhere.
It was hard to get a good read on Cobbs last season. He showed flashes of being able to contribute, but overall had trouble handling the high school/college transition and didn’t seem to be able to keep up. A highly touted recruit of Tubby’s 2010 class, I think people expected a bit too much of him and expected a greater immediate impact. It’s never good to see a recruit leave the program, and I don’t think it’s out of the question to have expected that Cobbs would be a solid contributor down the road had he stayed. Best of luck to him regardless.
The Trevor Mbakwe fiasco continues to swirl, with Myron Medcalf reporting that Mbakwe is seeking a release from his scholarship so he can possibly transfer to another school. Mbakwe is scheduled to go on trial in June for a felony assault charge that has been hung up in court for the better part of a year. Athletic Director Joel Maturi then came forward and said he would “consider” allowing Mbakwe to play if the trial is unresolved once the season gets underway, which is nearly a complete 180 from what Maturi’s line was last year.
Here at From the Barn we generally don’t like to get caught up in rumors, so for now I’ll just say that it would be a huge mistake for Mbakwe to transfer, not to mention a significant blow to the basketball program. He would lose another year of eligibility if he wanted to play Division I, and would likely have to settle for JUCO ball. Stay tuned on this one.
In recruiting news, Minnesota locked down 6’8″ forward Oto Osenieks, a Latvian-born, versatile player who can either post up or step back and shoot. Osenieks is expected to get some playing time right away.
Oto has improved a lot in his time at Brehm Prep. He’s become a much more consistent shooter and can knock down college 3′s. Add this shooting ability to his 6-foot-8 frame and you can see why some high major programs were on him late in the game and why he signed with Minnesota. He’ll be a good pick ‘n pop player for the Gophers and he has nice upsided. He needs to add strength to his frame as he should see his time at the 4 postion and will need to be stronger in order to bang down low. Overall, an excellent combination of size and skill.
Keep those refresh buttons active. If the first two months of the offseason have been any indication, Gopher Nation could be in for a soap opera as the summer plays out.