|For all of his potential, Trevor Mbakwe has had a hell of a career off the court in college basketball. (US Presswire)|
Mbakwe could've been sent to prison for 30 months.
His freedom and college career could've been taken away.
But Fernandez instead gave Mbakwe just two more years of probation and sent him on his way, at which point the sixth-year senior held a press conference and said about what you'd expect somebody in his position to say.
"I'm just going to stay on the right track now; no more slip-ups," Mbakwe said, according to the Twitter feed of Minnesota beat writer Amelia Rayno. "The judge gave me another chance."
Yes, he did. And Mbakwe is fortunate. Again. So now we wait to see how Minnesota coach Tubby Smith will handle the latest negative headline, which is unsettling if for no other reason than that Mbakwe seems to be in court about as often as Lindsay Lohan.
Mbakwe's legal issues started when he was charged with felony assault while in junior college in Florida for allegedly punching a woman and breaking bones in her face. He ultimately pleaded no contest to that charge -- after, it should be noted, violating a restraining order a former girlfriend had against him -- and was placed on probation, which was violated this offseason when Mbakwe pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.
That crime is what led to him being back in court Friday.
That crime is what nearly cost him his college career and freedom.
But it didn't.
So Mbakwe is fortunate.
But forgive me if I'm not convinced when I hear him suggest there will be "no more slip-ups," because all the guy seems to do besides record double-doubles is "slip-up." He "slipped-up" in junior college. He's "slipped-up" multiple times at Minnesota. Judge Fernandez told Mbakwe on Friday he doesn't "have nine lives like a cat," which may or may not be true. But, either way, there's no denying at this point he's a Gopher who sure keeps getting chance after chance after chance.