Mbakwe pleads not guilty to misdemeanor charge

by Josh Katzenstein

Gophers men’s basketball player Trevor Mbakwe pleaded not guilty to a charge of violating a harassment restraining order on Thursday.

The Big Ten’s leading rebounder was arrested on Jan. 12 after sending an ex-girlfriend a Facebook message that violated a “no-contact” order filed in 2009.

Mbakwe faces a maximum sentence of 90 days in prison and a $1,000 fine if found guilty. His next court date is Feb. 7, and Laura Nolen, Mbakwe’s lawyer, told the Star Tribune that she hopes to resolve the case during that hearing.

The Star Tribune also reported that Florida prosecutors are investigating whether this charge affects his legal standing in Miami. Mbakwe was charged with felony assault last year for an incident that occurred while Mbakwe attended Miami Dade College. He never pled guilty, but entered into a pre-trial agreement and performed 100 hours of community service.

Mbakwe was held out of the starting lineup for the past two game as part of coach Tubby Smith’s punishment, but entered both games after less than four minutes. The 15th-ranked Gophers play at Michigan on Saturday.