Stay Classy Memphis: Tigers Commit NCAA Violation While Recruiting Accused Felon Trevor Mbakwe

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Remember when news broke that UTEP's Tim Floyd may have hired Jason Niblett of the Heat Academy?  Remember the media firestorm that ensued?   Everyone from the Sporting News to ESPN took a swipe at Floyd even though it wasn't an NCAA violation to hire Niblett in the first place. Memphis Commercial Appeal columnist Dan Wolken took to his Twitter calling out Floyd for skirting the rules.  

Well, maybe the Memphis media should have paid less attention to Tim Floyd's potential assistants and should have been paying a bit more attention to what's happening in their own backyard.  My Fox Memphis is reporting that the Tigers, who again, are already on probation because Derrick Rose never took the SAT''s, have self reported a secondary violation related to the recruitment of Trevor Mbakwe.  Trust me, if you aren't familiar with Mbakwe, you want to know what he's accused of doing in Florida.  If he's guilty, it makes Derrick Rose's SAT's scandal look like jaywalking.

I don't know if Mbakwe is innocent or guilty of felony assault.  I do know that he is set for an August trial on charges stemming from an April 2009 incident where a victim identified Mbakwe as the person who... well... did the following (according the Star Tribune):

The male "grabbed her pants and attempted to pull them down." The woman screamed and then the male attacker punched her in the face, knocking her down, she said. The woman tried to get up, but her attacker punched her a second time before fleeing on his bicycle, she told police.
 
The woman said the assault occurred around 2:54 a.m.
 
The victim called 911 but decided to transport herself to the hospital, after emergency personnel responded. An ER doctor confirmed that the victim suffered "a fractured cheekbone on one side and a ruptured sinus on the other side." She needed "corrective surgery" the next day.

 

Here's how the victim identified Mbakwe.

 

Due to the attacker’s "extreme height," the woman told police that she"Googled" Miami Dade’s basketball team and "immediately"identified Mbakwe via the team website. The woman told police she was"100 percent sure" Mbakwe attacked her.
 
Police officers created a 6-man photo lineup and the woman picked Mbakwe from that arrangement.

 

Mistaken identity?  She says 100% sure, and that's for the jury to decide.  But.......

Could you imagine the level of national scrutiny that would crash down on Tim Floyd if 1) he recruited Mbakwe with those charges hanging over him; and 2) he self reported NCAA violations regarding that recruitment?  

Well, that's what happened in Memphis.  Mbakwe originally committed to play for Tubby Smith at Minnesota- he's a 6'8 forward.  He sat out all last season as he, and Minnesota, awaited the results of the trial.  Mbakwe was looking to transfer but was waiting to hear from the NCAA on whether or not he would be granted a transfer waiver.  Usually, a transfer needs to sit out one year after transferring, but Mbakwe was hoping to have that requirement waived so that if he did transfer he would be eligible next season.  That's where Memphis coach Josh Pastner comes in to play.  Pastner, decided to go watch Mbakwe play an summer league game- a clear cut secondary violation.  You can't go watch a player who hasn't been released from his scholarship yet.  

According to the report, Tubby said:

"I think they probably misunderstood what the rules were," Smith said. "It might have been miscommunication or something. I don't know."

So, Josh Pastner's first secondary violation comes in the pursuit of a player anxiously awaiting trial on felony assault charges.  Book mark this page.  Next time anybody from Memphis decides to attack Tim Floyd's recruiting tactics, kindly direct them here.  Until then, stay classy Memphis.

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