If you are looking for any coaches from the Big Ten on Tuesday night, look no further than Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Minn. In the gym, you'll be sure to find coaches watching two of the top big men in the country when sophomore Trevor Mbakwe hosts Bryce Webster. This is the second time they meet this year. In their first meeting, five schools from the Big Ten were represented.
Mbakwe, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward from Sibley HS, is having himself a dandy of a year already. The No. 36 ranked player in the class of 2007 is putting up huge numbers (25 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks a game) for a young team that is sitting at 12-8.
On Tuesday night, he'll battle with Webster, the 6-foot-9, 245-pound power forward from St. Thomas Academy. Webster doubles as the No. 72 ranked junior in the country. His scholarship offer list is dotted with the who's who of college hoops.
In their last meeting, coaches from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin were in the house to see two of the top forwards in the country battle it out under the basket. Mbakwe finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds and the victory. Webster ended the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Coaches are a regular site for Mbakwe and he's enjoying the entire recruiting process.
"It's an honor that they feel like I'm a good player," Mbakwe said. "One day I come into practice and there's Bruce Weber. Here's the coach of the number one team in the country at my practice. How many sophomores can say that? Tom Crean, it's the same thing. It's nice that these coaches that you see on TV. are in you gym at nine in the morning for practice."
With scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Marquette already on the table for the sophomore, it's not a shock that many more will soon follow. He said Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota said they would all offer when the season ended. Arizona, Purdue, UCLA and Virginia Tech are also showing interest early on. Cincinnati is trying to get into the picture, he said. Mbakwe says he's still open in the process.
"I'm just looking for whatever school fit's the best in academics and basketball," he said.
Mbakwe is your typical aggressive, do-what-it-takes-to-win kind of guys and one of those kids that will take 10 blocks over 30 points any day. While his offensive numbers are impressive, the sophomore will talk defense with any one that will listen.
Athletically, he's one of the best in his class and knows how to use it in his arsenal. His rebounding skills are strong on both ends of the floor. Offensively, defenders have a difficult time controlling him on the blocks.
Tonight's game will be another indicator of just how good Mbakwe is and will become.