Memphis has tie into Trevor Mbakwe's trial

Minnesota junior forward Trevor Mbakwe's career at the school has been jeopardized by a felony battery trial that has been delayed several times, causing him to ask for a scholarship release since officials won't let him play unless the matter is cleared up.

Memphis is now recruiting Mbakwe -- recently self-reporting a secondary violation in doing so -- and as it so happens, one member of Josh Pastner's staff is expected to testify in the trial.

Matt Dunn, Mbakwe's former coach at Miami Dade College who is currently Memphis' equipment and practice facility manager, is among the witnesses for Mbakwe, who has been accused of attacking a woman in Miami last April.

The Commercial Appeal has a look at how Dunn's testimony could impact the case and how the Mbakwe's attorney views this potential conflict of interest:

Dunn finds himself in a ticklish position testifying for a player his program is recruiting.

"I can tell you the prosecution isn't thinking of this; they haven't thought about this like that," said Gregory Samms, Mbakwe's lawyer in Miami. "But if you start asking these questions, then maybe they will too. Maybe the prosecution will ask them at trial."


For his part, Samms doesn't believe Dunn's position as a Memphis coach or Mbakwe's interest in joining the Tigers next season is relevant to the criminal case, since the trial will involve events that occurred when both men were affiliated with Miami Dade College.

"His involvement stems from when he was in Miami," Samms said of Dunn.

"Where he is now is of no concern."

Dunn in an e-mail to the Commercial Appeal declined to discuss testifying on behalf of a player his program is recruiting. He cited NCAA rules that prevent schools from talking about prospective student-athletes.