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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.

As good as they’ve been, No. 3 Michigan State has yet to play their best

Bryn Forbes, Ryan Fazekas
Associated Press
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Sunday night’s Wooden Legacy title game matchup between No. 3 Michigan State and Providence was billed as a matchup of the nation’s two best players, and rightfully so. Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine (17 points, six rebounds, five assists), who already has two triple-doubles to his credit this season, and Providence redshirt junior Kris Dunn (21 points, five rebounds, seven assists) have more than lived up to the preseason expectations and more of the same was expected in Anaheim.

And while both had their moments, it was Michigan State’s supporting cast that made the difference in their 77-64 victory. The scary thing for future opponents on Michigan State’s schedule is that Tom Izzo’s team is nowhere near being a finished product.

With Valentine dealing with first-half foul trouble Bryn Forbes stepped up, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help the Spartans take a two-point lead into the half. As for the 11-0 run that Michigan State produced to take control of the game late, a host of players stepped forward in regards to scoring, rebounding and defending.

Freshmen Deyonta Davis and Matt McQuaid combined to score nine points over the final 5:32, with transfer guard Eron Harris adding six of his 12 points during that stretch. The Spartans outscored the Friars, who aren’t as deep, 22-7 during that stretch to close out the game, hunting for quality shots and hitting the offensive glass while making things difficult for Providence on the other end of the floor.

The end result was a final margin that does not indicate just how close the game was. While Providence seemed to run out of steam Michigan State received contributions from multiple players, which is undoubtedly a good sign for this group moving forward.

The Spartans will return the currently injured Gavin Schilling later this season, giving them another big man alongside Davis, Matt Costello and Colby Wollenman. He was a player they missed Sunday night, as he can defend opposing big men both in the post and on the perimeter. His absence was a main reason Michigan State didn’t have an answer for Providence’s Ben Bentil (20 points, seven rebounds) defensively.

The key for this group is going to end up being role definition, which is especially true in the case of Harris. A transfer from West Virginia, Harris came to East Lansing with the reputation of being a big time scorer. He’s struggled through the first two weeks of the season, but he got on a roll on Sunday night, finishing with 12 points, three boards and three assists. He showed he’s capable of doing a variety of things on the perimeter, and fitting into a “Swiss army knife” kind of role would make Michigan State that much more dangerous.

There’s no denying that Michigan State has been one of the nation’s best teams thus far.

But there’s also no denying that the Spartans have yet to hit their ceiling, which is definitely a positive moving forward.

Wichita State’s Anton Grady returns home with team

AP Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.
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Wichita State forward Anton Grady was released from a hospital in Orlando on Sunday afternoon in time to return home with his Shocker teammates.

Grady suffered a spinal corn concussion on Friday when he collided head-first with an Alabama defender, snapping his head sharply to the side. He lay on the court motionless for 10 minutes after the injury and was taken off the floor on a stretcher.

[RELATED: Can WSU still make tourney?]

“I want to send out a big thank you to Shocker Nation and all of my friends and family for of the love and encouragement that I have received the past few days,” Grady said in a statement on Sunday morning. “I’ve been reading your tweets and posts and appreciate every last one of them. I have a lot of work to do to get back on the court, but with the help of such a great support system, I’m ready for the challenge.”

By Friday night, Grady had feeling in all of his extremities, but he has a long road of rehab ahead of him.