Deniz Kilicli, Kevin Pangos

Deniz Kilicli is a fan of ‘Family Ties’?

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Deniz Kilicli is one of the easiest college basketball players to recognize.

That’s what happens when you to look strikingly similar to your team’s mascot.

But Kilicli is more than just recognizable. He’s also one of the more likeable players you’ll come across. A 6-foot-9 Turkish import with a frame that’s chiseled out of stone, Kilicli is a brutish presence in the paint, pushing around opposing big men just long enough that his incredible touch on a lefty sky-hook (he’s right-handed) is relatively shocking.

Kilicli is also one of the more talented players off the court. His talents as a guitarist have been fairly well documented, as he led his team in a (fairly terrible; the rest of the Mountaineers aren’t exactly the singing type) chorus of ‘Country Roads’ at last season’s Midnight Madness. When his house burned down last summer, Kilicli was quoted by the paper as saying “No one got hurt, and my guitars are safe. That’s all I really care about.”

Tough not to like a guy like that.

On Monday, Bob Hertzel wrote a column chronicling how Kilicli became close friends with Mike Martin, a Sports Broadcasting major that also has a passion for music:

“He was in my English class,” Martin recalled. “That’s how I first met him. I can talk to anyone, but I didn’t talk to him because he was a basketball player, but instead because he made funny comments here and there. Still, he looked like he felt uncomfortable, and I wanted to make him feel like people weren’t just looking at him as a basketball player.”

It was mostly just an acquaintance kind of relationship until one day Martin went into a recording studio with Eric Jordan, a rap producer.

“Weird enough, out of the blue, randomly Deniz was there,” Martin said.

More conversation, but not really a friendship.

Martin went home for the summer and moved into a new place last fall.

“I go to meet my neighbors upstairs and guess who’s living there — Deniz Kilicli,” he said.

This was a friendship that was meant to be.

“Now I’m best friends with him and his roommate. They came over to watch the Super Bowl, and he was like, ‘Let’s do a halftime show.’ I don’t like to sing in front of people, but he starts playing my songs. … I hate listening to myself,” Martin said.

He was hooked though. Before long they were doing some performing together.

There’s video of those performances, too:

Like I said, it’s tough not to like a kid like that.

The best nugget from Hertzel’s column had nothing to do with music, however. Apparently, Kilicli not only taught himself the guitar, he taught himself english as well.

By watching ‘Family Ties’.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

POSTERIZED: Texas A&M-CC with an off-the-backboard dunk

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This is pretty nice from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who has made a habit out of getting themselves on the highlight reel.

Here’s another angle of the dunk:

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me: