Mbakwe & Sampson glad to be Gophers

Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III nearly entered the NBA Draft, but decided against it before it was too late. Now the seniors are glad they decided to return. Not only do they want to finish their careers, but the NBA lockout would have them sitting at home anyway.
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Trevor Mbakwe and Ralph Sampson III nearly entered the NBA Draft, but decided against it before it was too late. Now the seniors are glad they decided to return. Not only do they want to finish their careers, but the NBA lockout would have them sitting at home anyway.

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Gophers could be without Sampson

The Gophers could be without starting big man Ralph Sampson III against Northwestern in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday. Sampson injured his knee two days ago and hasn't practice since.

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Ralph Sampson III is back in the starting lineup tonight as the Gophers host Appalachian State in non-conference play at Williams Arena. Sampson missed the previous two games because of a turned ankle. Andre Hollins is also starting despite turning an ankle in Saturday's win over USC.

Gophers basketball will go as far as "big three" take them

Seniors Trevor Mbakwe, Ralph Sampson III and junior Rodney Williams, are the core of the 2011-2012 squad. The triumvirate open the season at Williams Arena against Bucknell on Nov 11.

Sampson unlikely to play tonight

Sources close to the Gophers' basketball team told the Star Tribune that Ralph Sampson III is unlikely to play in tonight's game against Mount St. Mary's. Sampson III turned his ankle in the closing moments of last week's win over Fairfield.

Sampson's ankle feeling better

It's still unclear if Ralph Sampson III will play Tuesday night when the Gophers host Appalachian State, but he was moving around much better during Monday's practice. The 6-foot-11 senior center has missed the last two games.

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The Gophers' basketball season may have come to a crashing halt Monday when the University announced Trevor Mbakwe will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Tubby Smith is now facing the challenge of replacing his best player.

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Trevor Mbakwe's story is long and frustrating. With the off-the-court issues mostly out of the way, the 6'10'' forward is ready to lead Minnesota to the top of the Big Ten. The Gophers have the respect of coaches in the conference, now it's all about putting it all together on the court.

Mbakwe: 'It's going to be a tough decision'

The NCAA granted Gophers' forward Trevor Mbakwe a sixth year of eligibility on Friday, but Mbakwe hasn't decided if he'll return to the Gophers or enter the NBA draft. Mbakwe says "there's still possibility" that he'll enter the draft, but he also wants to help the Gophers get to the NCAA tournament.