Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-foot-7 forward from Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn., played like a player that wanted to attract the who's who of schools in the spring travel period. Mbakwe is getting his wish.
The four-star forward mixed a bullish demeanor around the basket with athleticism, hard-work and a knack for blocking a number of shots as he shined with the Howard Pulley Panthers and the Worldwide Renegades at some of the top events on the spring circuit.
"The spring was good. I have some new schools looking at me now," Mbakwe said.
Kentucky, Cincinnati, Tennessee, Wisconsin and "basically the whole SEC" is now in the picture. Pair those schools up with offers from Miami, Georgetown, Florida, Michigan, Marquette and Minnesota, all of whom have offered he said, Mbakwe is playing himself into a coveted position amongst the recruiters.
As his list grows, Mbakwe said he knows he'll need to trim it down to a more manageable number by the season's end.
"I think we'll reevaluate the list at the end of the summer and come up with a top six again," Mbakwe said. "It's going to be about where I see myself playing and trying to familiarize myself with each school. I'd like to decide before school starts.
"My decision is going to be about who can prepare me for getting to the next level and where I can get playing time right away as a freshman," Mbakwe said.
Mbakwe knows his strength at the high school level is around the basket but in order to be an impact player in the college game, he'll need to refine some of his offensive skills.
"I really think my mid range jumper is improving," Mbakwe said. "If I want to be successful at the next level, I know I need to have it. I can't power my way around in college. Plus, it probably isn't good for my body, all of that wear and tear. I want to be able to have the respect inside but be able to shoot the ball from 12 to 15 feet and make teams come out to guard me."
Mbakwe, a 72 percent free throw shooter last year, said he isn't too enamored with the three-pointer like so many other big guys.
"The three-pointer comes later. Shooting mid-range shots is like a free throw. They should be automatic. When people don't respect my jumper, I'll shoot it. And if they come out to defend me, I'll take it to the basket."