Trevor Mbakwe

Recent Articles

U of M honors late MSR senior sportswriter

Kwame McDonald was highly regarded as educator, activist and friend to many
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team honored the late Kwame McDonald during halftime of Sunday’s Gophers-Illinois contest. The MSR senior sports columnist passed away of cancer on October 26, 2011 at age 80. A crowd of 14,625 gave McDonald, veteran Nathan Thomas, and Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Hiram Mann a standing ovation after the team’s public address announcer Dick Jonckowski read aloud each man’s accomplishments during Sunday’s “Celebrate Black History Month” ceremony. “I was so pleased to learn that [Gopher] Athletics wanted to do something for Black History Month, and they wanted to honor these individuals,” said Minnesota Assistant Vice President of Equity and Diversity Rickey Hall. Continue Reading →

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More should be done to honor Kwame McDonald

 

Why is it that we Blacks must often wait for the shortest month each year to be honored, to get our accomplishments recognized, to get our heritage respected? Why do we often have to be half-past dead to finally get our bouquets? It took one Black History Month and nearly half of another before the Minnesota Golden Gophers publicly honored the late Kwame McDonald, who died in October 2011. The belated recognition came Sunday at halftime of the Minnesota-Illinois men’s basketball game. The Gopher women are expected to offer a similar tribute at this Sunday’s Minnesota-Northwestern contest. Continue Reading →

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Stereotypes at play in neglect of girls’ coaching achievements

 

 

 

DeLaSalle Girls’ Basketball Coach Faith Johnson-Patterson will receive the Special Merit Award at the Minnesota State Capitol Rotunda in St. Paul on Feb. 6 at the 2013 Minnesota National Girls and Women in Sports Day ceremony. The honor “came out of the blue,” says Johnson-Patterson. “What an honor — my main purpose, my work has not been in vain.”

This is the second consecutive month this year that she has been honored: Johnson-Patterson also reached the 400-win milestone on January 11. Continue Reading →

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Recovery from an ACL injury is quicker now, but still challenging

 

Modern medicine has improved so much in recent years that an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury these days isn’t career-ending for an athlete, but rather a temporary setback. Historically, “People were really stiff coming out of surgery,” notes orthopedic surgeon Dr. Joel Boyd. “Then the surgical knee was immobilized in a cast, and then began rehab. It would take people a year to come back.”

Boyd, the team physician for the Minnesota Vikings, Wild and Lynx, points out that “accelerated rehab” now is the norm rather than the exception for most athletes. Nonetheless, the doctor says that there’s no substitute for hard work during rehabilitation if the person really wants to get back to action. Continue Reading →

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HBCU coaches tend to see athletes as students first

 

The latest NCAA graduation rates report shows that overall Division I student-athletes graduate at 80 percent, but the oft-overlooked fact is that Black student-athletes graduate at least 20 percent lower than their White counterparts. Even a sport-by-sport breakdown analysis points out that Blacks lag behind Whites in every sport ranging anywhere from 12 percentage points (women’s basketball) to 23 points (men’s basketball). This “significant graduation gap” between University of Minnesota Black and White student-athletes over a five-year period was the focus of a MSRfront-page article this week. Sadly, most of us, especially in the Black community, rather direct our outrage toward who gets voted off reality show islands or dancing shows than publicly demanding an answer to why our Black athletes — most of which aren’t going to the pros after college — are not graduating from predominately White institutions at the same rate, if not better, than White athletes. Seemingly too many Black parents are delusional about getting rich quick off their son or daughter: University of Washington-Vancouver English Professor Thabiti Lewis recently offered such an example. Continue Reading →

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Three-point review of Gophers men’s and women’s basketball

 

 
 
By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer
 
A seven-game review of Minnesota women’s basketball at this point of the season yields the following three points:
First point: Billed before the season as the missing piece, Rachel Banham thus far seemingly has made a smoother transition as freshman starting point guard than her male counterpart Andre Hollins (more on him later). “I think she’s doing a great job getting a feel of things, and she’s playing a lot of minutes. She’s really pushing tempo and keeping our team playing fast,” surmises Coach Pam Borton. Second point: Will junior Leah Cotton ever play “unplugged”? Yes, she makes mistakes (i.e., silly fouls), but often makes up for it with hustle and ball hawking on defense. Continue Reading →

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Analysts speculate on season’s outlook for college women

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson recently discussed this season’s women’s college basketball storylines. Here are some of their observations:

1) A breakout year for Britney Griner: “I think the international experience that she

had this off-season definitely helped her,” observed Peck of the 6-8 Baylor junior center. She also sees Griner’s body maturing, “…catching up to what she wants to do” as an offensive player.  

“The thing I’ve seen Britney improve on is her aggressiveness and [ability] to handle double teams,” noted Peck, especially the junior’s anticipating the doubles coming at her quicker and passing the ball before they arrive. The Gophers will play nationally ranked Baylor in Williams Arena December 4 as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. Continue Reading →

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