Mbakwe suffered an ACL tear to his right knee against Dayton in November and was lost for the remainder of the season. He underwent surgery on Dec. 30 to repair the knee.
“I have decided to remain at the University of Minnesota and am looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Mbakwe. “I think it is beneficial for many reasons. It gives me the opportunity to play another year of college basketball and hopefully contribute to a team that showed it can be dangerous.
“It also provides me with the opportunity to leave the university with a Master’s degree. That means a ton to me. Not many athletes have that chance to get multiple degrees during their stay and unfortunately it took an injury for me to have this opportunity but I am going to take full advantage of it. I am excited to get back on the court with my teammates.”
“We are excited that Trevor has made the decision to return and play a sixth season,” said head coach Tubby Smith. “He has obviously proven to be a dominant player in this league and I have no doubt that he will return to the form that made him that type of player. He will certainly be a welcomed addition to next year’s team.”
Mbakwe, named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team and to the John R. Wooden award watch list, was leading the Gophers in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) at the time of the injury (seven games).
The leading rebounder for Team USA at the World University Games this summer, Mbakwe made an impact in his first season in Gold Country, finishing with a Big Ten Conference-best 10.5 rebounds per game as a junior.
His 327 total rebounds were the third-most in a single-season at Minnesota and the most since Jim Brewer collected 331 rebounds during the 1970-71 season. Mbakwe also averaged a team-high 13.9 points per game to become the first Gopher player to average a double-double since Kris Humphries did so during the 2003-4 season.