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Two exhibition games cause Montana State’s Mohamed Fall his senior year


In what was a story that went under the radar nationally last week, Montana State center Mohamed Fall was notified by the NCAA that he wouldn’t be able to play his senior season at MSU.

The reason why: Fall played in a pair of showcase exhibition games, and with his turning 21 before enrolling at Montana State those games constitute a season of eligibility.

Fall played two seasons at Cloud County Community College before enrolling at Montana State, and according to the school he will seek playing opportunities at a lower level.

“I really liked playing at Montana State and enjoyed the university and the community,” Fall said, “Everyone treated me so well and I really appreciated the opportunity to be here.

From a playing standpoint I was very excited about next year’s team and from a personal standpoint I needed my second season here to reach my full potential.

But I really feel like I improved as a player and the coaches here really helped me and I will miss them, my teammates, MSU, and Bozeman.”

Is this a case of the NCAA striking again?

That’s indeed the case according to Jonathan Reed of Big Sky Basketball, who notes in his piece that if the NCAA really wants to send a message in a logical manner they should just suspend him for a few games.

And while this isn’t a similar example there could be precedent for how the NCAA should deal with this.

Notre Dame forward Tim Abromaitis was allowed to play in more exhibition games than he should have been by the school in what would be a redshirt season (2008-09), and the punishment handed down was a four-game suspension last fall.

Fall played in a pair of showcase games in hopes of earning a scholarship and he accomplished that.

Is such an action, especially when the player isn’t aware of what the ramifications could be, worthy of a season-long suspension?

Hopefully there’s an appeal process for Fall because the numbers simply don’t add up here.

And for the players and parents who may take part in showcase games heading into the summer in hopes of earning a scholarship, be sure to check the rules beforehand.

h/t to @bigskybball

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.