Former Kansas basketball recruiting target Mackenzie Mgbako arrested

Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako talks to the media during the Indiana University basketball media day at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023.
Indiana’s Mackenzie Mgbako talks to the media during the Indiana University basketball media day at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. /

Mackenzie Mgbako, once a top priority for Kansas basketball on the recruiting trail, was arrested on misdemeanor charges yesterday.

Kansas Jayhawks fans were stunned by the college decision Mackenzie Mgbako made this past May. The 5-star forward out of Roselle Catholic committed to Mike Woodson and Indiana despite several reports suggesting he was a Kansas lock.

Losing him to IU certainly stung for a while, especially with the fanbase under the impression Kevin McCullar would keep his name in the NBA Draft. However, his tenure as a Hoosier has gotten off to a rocky start.

The highly touted freshman was booked at 3:16 a.m. for two Class A misdemeanor charges — criminal trespassing and resisting law enforcement. They stem from a late-night altercation he had with managers at a Taco Bell in Bloomington, the home of Indiana University.

Here are some further details from Ryan Pedigo, the Bloomington Police Department captain, who released this public announcement:

“On October 22nd at approximately 2:15 a.m., officers responded to Taco Bell, located at 3001 E Third Street, in reference to a man refusing to leave the property. Upon arrival, officers were advised by Taco Bell management that they were refusing service to the man in a vehicle in the drive-thru due to him cursing at and being rude to employees. Officers made contact with the man, who refused to identify himself but told officers that he was 18-years-old. The man was later identified as Mackenzie Mgbako. Officers asked Mgbako to move his vehicle from the drive-thru line, which he agreed to do and moved the vehicle into a parking space in the Taco Bell lot. Upon speaking further with management, they requested that officers tell Mgbako to leave the property. Officers explained to Mgbako that he needed to leave the property and he refused to do so and kept the windows closed on his vehicle. At one point, Mgbako began to drive out of the lot, but then reversed his vehicle and parked again in a parking space on Taco Bell property. He was told repeatedly that he needed to leave the property by officers, but failed to comply and stayed on Taco Bell property for approximately 15 minutes.

“Officers determined that Mgbako would be arrested for trespassing, but he then moved his vehicle to a nearby lot and parked again,” Pedigo continued. “Officers approached his vehicle and advised him that he was under arrest and that he needed to exit his vehicle, but he refused to do so. Officers had to use a baton to break the passenger side window of the vehicle to unlock the doors. Upon opening the driver’s door, Mgbako was given commands to exit the driver’s seat, but he refused to do so. Officers had to forcibly remove him from the vehicle and he tensed his arms and would not allow officers to secure him in handcuffs. Officers were able to eventually place him in handcuffs and he was then transported to the Monroe County Jail, where he was remanded for criminal trespass, class A misdemeanor, and resisting law enforcement, class A misdemeanor.”

Kansas basketball dodged a bullet by missing out on Mackenzie Mgbako

It’s safe to say Kansas basketball came out of the situation better than they initially thought they would. Kevin McCullar returned to school to make the Jayhawks the consensus preseason No. 1 team, while Mgbako is dealing with non-basketball troubles.

In other words, Bill Self and KU dodged a bullet here.

Why do all of this for Taco Bell at two in the morning? Seriously? With the NIL deals Mark Cuban and IU put together for him, he could probably hire himself a personal chef on call for 168 hours a week.

Mgbako is probably a good kid deep inside. There are just some things you don’t do — for example, fail to comply with police and curse at fast food workers in the dead of the night when you have everything going right for you in the world. Maybe if he becomes an NBA player in the future, he can team up with Taco Bell for an advertising opportunity. Full-circle moment, right?

Kansas players haven’t necessarily had immaculate records in recent years. Superstars like Devonte’ Graham and Jalen Wilson have also run into trouble with the law, and I don’t even have to mention the whole Arterio Morris fiasco from a few months ago. However, something like this surfacing before Mgbako has played a collegiate game doesn’t bode well for his future.

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