Each week I'll write about the sport I love, college basketball:
• There was good news for Minnesota Golden Gopher fans. Power forward Trevor Mbakwe has decided to return to Minnesota next season after a knee injury wiped out his senior year. He is taking advantage of an NCAA ruling granting him a sixth year of eligibility. Tubby Smith has to be thrilled with that decision as Mbakwe will be one of the top players in the Big Ten next season.
• USA Basketball did a super job picking three experienced and successful college coaches to handle the American squad for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship this summer. University of Florida's Billy Donovan will serve as the USA head coach, with Mark Few of Gonzaga and Shaka Smart of VCU as assistant coaches.
• I believe that college kids signed by a coach that leaves for his dream job should be allowed to leave without penalty. Yes it means a re-recruitment process and the player should not be able to follow his coach without sitting a season. Why not allow these youngsters to transfer? Coaches don't sit out for a year when they move on. It is unrealistic to think a player goes to a college without major consideration of the style employed by a coach, potential playing time, etc.
• NC State got a big boost when C.J. Leslie decided to return to school. The Wolfpack, with a solid class coming in, should be favored in the ACC next season. When was the last time NC State was rated No. 1 on the Triangle?
• Connecticut suffered another loss when forward Roscoe Smith became the latest player to jump ship. Smith announced plans to transfer, just like Alex Oriakhi did. The only difference is Smith will have to sit out a year unless he is granted a waiver. Oriakhi will be playing at Missouri. Jeremy Lamb and Andre Drummond left for the NBA early.
• Washington added a big man for the future when 6-9 Perris Blackwell opted to transfer from the University of San Francisco. He was second on the Dons in scoring at 12.7 points per game last season while leading the club at 6.1 rebounds per game. He is an experienced addition, having played three seasons at USF. Blackwell will sit out the upcoming season, but Lorenzo Romar has to be happy with his presence.
• It feels like there have been a ton of players transferring lately. Xavier added a big man in 6-10 Western Michigan transfer Matt Stainbrook. He averaged 11.4 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game last season for the Broncos.
• It's good to see Connecticut and Washington have agreed to play a home-and-home series, starting in Connecticut next season. Washington and UConn have played each other three times previously, but never on each other's home floor. Connecticut won the three previous meetings: a pair of NCAA tournament games in 1998 and 2006, plus a Great Eight tournament game in Chicago in 1998.