Tubby Smith might lose another player

While Minnesota coach Tubby Smith gave testimony today in his own defense for a fraud case involving a former assistant coach, back on campus, word was coming out that another one of his players might be transferring.

Troubled junior forward Trevor Mbakwe was given his scholarship release so he could at least explore a transfer, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Mbakwe was suspended for the entire season while his felony aggravated battery charge remained unresolved, and he could decide that a change of scenery is necessary.

The Pioneer Press didn't mince words when describing what Mbakwe's departure would mean on the heels of some others leaving the program from Smith's once-heralded recruiting class of 2009.

Losing Mbakwe would be another significant blow to Minnesota coach Tubby Smith's program. Junior forward Paul Carter has transferred to Illinois-Chicago, and freshman point guard Justin Cobbs is back home in California looking for a school closer to home. Freshman forward Royce White left the team last season while suspended for legal issues, although the former Hopkins High School star met with Smith last month to talk about possibly returning.

Of course, White, the former Minnesota Mr. Basketball, is the biggest question mark given his suspension and legal woes.

But any further chipping away at his roster makes it that much tougher for Smith, and watching Golden Gopher careers end before they start is not a pretty sight.