SDSU incoming freshman Winston Shepard busted for weed

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San Diego State had one of the best back courts in the country last season, and with everyone — Jamaal Franklin, Chase Tapley, Xavier Thames and James Rahon — returning next season, there is no reason to think that the Aztecs won’t have one of the most potent perimeter attacks for the second straight season.

But part of the reason that the Aztecs are widely considered UNLV’s main challenger in the MWC and a legitimate threat to be a top four seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament has to do with the size they are bringing in this season. With transfers Dwayne Polee, James Johnson and JJ O’Brien to go along with five-star recruit Winston Shepard, the Aztecs will actually have some size and depth along their front line this season. Three of those players are natural small forwards, but having a 6-foot-8 and freakishly athletic small forward at the four is a better option than using 6-foot-5 Jamaal Franklin there.

Shepard may have been the most noteworthy addition. A top 25 recruit nationally, his signing was an indication that the Aztecs had become legitimate national players, that they weren’t simply a flash-in-the-pan program that had one season worth of success thanks to a notable head coach and a first round draft pick.

But it appears that the addition of Shepard may end up being more trouble than initially thought; the 6-foot-8 freshman was arrested on Monday night for possession of marijuana. From U-T San Diego:

A campus police officer checked the parked vehicle he was occupying about 11 p.m. Monday and found a small amount of marijuana, police records show.

Shepard then was arrested, issued a citation and released.

Not exactly an ideal way to start your time on campus.

I don’t expect this to be a huge issue, to be frank. A college freshman was smoking a little pot four months before he will begin official practices to start his season. Is it ideal? No. Is it worthy of getting kicked off the team or suspended for a significant amount of time? Probably not.

My guess would be that Shepard misses a game or an exhibition at the start of the season and makes up for the ganja through extra conditioning drills.

(For what it’s worth, the suspension may end up being the more lax of the two punishments; conditioning is never, ever the least bit enjoyable.)

Image via Love Star Varsity

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

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.