- Myron Medcalf, ESPN Staff Writer
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You can’t make this up. Or perhaps you can.
Minnesota basketball’s off-court woes read like the script of a reality TV show.
On Friday, Gophers star Trevor Mbakwe dodged jail time after a Florida judge added two years to his probation from an earlier case.
On Sunday, the program announced that assistant coach Saul Smith, son of head coach Tubby Smith, had been placed on unpaid administrative leave after he was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence.
Count them, folks. Two. Days. Later.
From team spokesperson Garry Bowman (via email):
University of Minnesota assistant men’s basketball coach Saul Smith was placed on indefinite unpaid administrative leave Sunday after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Smith, the son of head men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith, was pulled over early Saturday morning after leaving a downtown Minneapolis restaurant.
“While we do not want to rush to judgment before the legal process proceeds, Coach Tubby Smith and I are taking this matter seriously,” said Gophers Director of Athletics Norwood Teague. “University of Minnesota values dictate that our coaches and staff be positive role models for our student-athletes. As such, we are taking disciplinary measures while the legal system takes its course.”
Smith, a first-time offender who is in his sixth season with the Gophers, is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 3, 2012.
Smith’s reign over the program has been plagued by legal problems that tend to warrant this response: “You’ve got to be kidding me?”
Under Tubby Smith, multiple key contributors have transferred in recent years. Others have lost time due to off-court trouble.
In 2009-10, Mbakwe missed the year while awaiting trial on a felony assault charge, and Houston Rockets forward Royce White left the program following multiple legal incidents.
Mbakwe was arrested the following season for violating a restraining order. His latest ordeal -- he was convicted of DUI in September -- threatened to terminate his collegiate career.
Saul Smith was an original member of his father’s staff at the University of Minnesota. He also played for him. He was a freshman on the 1998 Kentucky team that earned a national title.
He’s entering his sixth season with the program.
It will be interesting to see how the school handles another dicey situation. Mbakwe is expected to avoid suspension, per a team source, following Friday’s court hearing.
Now, the program will have to decide the proper response in a situation that involves the son of the head coach.
And it’s not even Monday yet.