Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Texas Christian v Colorado State

Can the Bahamas be a springboard for Colorado State?

Leave a comment

Three Mountain West teams are taking off-season trips this month, and each has the ability to factor into the league title race in some fashion.

UNLV, who will play games in Canada, is one of the preseason favorites to win the conference along with San Diego State (and New Mexico right behind them).

The other two teams, Colorado State and Wyoming, are coming off of successful 2011-12 campaigns with the Rams beginning the Larry Eustachy era after Tim Miles left for Nebraska.

With seven first-year players (five newcomers and two transfers) the off-season is a time for Colorado State to establish team chemistry.

The ten practices leading up to their trip to the Bahamas, in addition to the game action they’ll see once on the island, could end up being a major benefit for a team looking for back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time since the 1989 and 1990 seasons.

Unlike last year’s team, which found a way to get to the NCAA tournament without much depth or a rotation player taller than 6-6, the Rams have both depth and size heading into 2012-13.

Minnesota transfer Colton Iverson and junior college forward Gerson Santo add the size while Arizona transfer Daniel Bejarano has the talent to join a back court rotation anchored by Jesse Carr, Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green.

“We’re going to have depth, in positions we need to, too,” Eikmeier said. “The new guys coming in have blended in really well. Guys who have played a lot of college basketball are helping everyone along. The transition … has been a lot smoother and quicker than I thought it was going to be. That’s a positive thing.”

The added size will help out the likes of Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith, who along with the now-departed Will Bell held their own more times than not.

Even with their toughness the Rams were slightly below the middle of the pack in the Mountain West in most rebounding categories, and with the league improving those numbers will need to improve as well.

“I have all the respect in the world for the guys who did what they did last year. It’s amazing,” Eustachy said “Tim did a phenomenal job as I look at the guys and the numbers he dealt with. They had to use a lot of smoke and mirrors and won close games … and did a masterful job of staying together all the way to making the tournament.”

The arrival of Fresno State and Nevada (TCU left for the Big 12) will make the conference stronger, so a head start on the 2012-13 season can only help matters for Colorado State.

The Rams had Moby Arena rocking last season, especially for big wins over New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV. The first steps towards making sure there’s a repeat of that will be taken far away from Fort Collins.

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

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
Leave a comment

Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
Leave a comment

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry’s personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Leave a comment

As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?

 

VIDEO: John Calipari vows to lose some weight

1 Comment

John Calipari has a goal this offseason: to lose some weight.

“Mid-50s, I let it go a little bit,” Calipari said as he worked out on an elliptical. “Had a heck of a year. But going forward, gotta get in better shape. Gotta get the body right. Started a week ago. What I will say to you is really simple. I’m not showing you my body for a month.”

The reason why Cal needs to get into shape?

He’s going to have to coach this year, because Tyler Ulis is heading to the NBA.

“I shoulda got some of his salary,” Ulis joked.

Cal won’t have to coach too hard. He’s got one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming into the program, including three top ten players and five of the nation’s top 30 prospects.

Four-star PG Jaylen Fisher de-commits from UNLV

Getty Images
Kelly Kline/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Coaching changes can wreak havoc on a program’s recruiting class, and that’s been the case for UNLV thanks to the tumultuous nature of their search for a new head coach. Thursday evening one prospect who remained committed to the Mountain West program throughout the process that ultimately led to Marvin Menzies landing the job announced that he’s decided to reopen his recruitment.

Four-star point guard Jaylen Fisher, ranked 55th in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.com, announced via social media that he’s decided to de-commit from UNLV.

“I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to be a Rebel this year,” Fisher wrote. “But there have been a lot of changes with the program since I committed to UNLV; changes that have made me reconsider whether UNLV is still a good fit for me. So with that in mind and after much consideration with my family, I have decided it’s best that I reopen my recruitment.”

Fisher’s decision leaves wing Justin Jackson as the lone member of UNLV’s 2016 class at this point, with Jackson telling Scout.com in early April that he was undecided as to whether or not he’d reopen his recruitment. The school’s search for a coach began in January when they parted ways with Dave Rice, promoting Todd Simon in an interim role.

After deciding not to retain Simon, who’s now the head coach at Southern Utah, UNLV hired former Little Rock head coach Chris Beard…who left for Texas Tech less than two weeks later. UNLV landed Menzies, who they passed over for Beard, and he’s got a lot of work to do to field a roster that will be competitive in the Mountain West next season.

As for Fisher, the Arlington, Tennessee native should be a popular prospect with his decision to reopen things. And with Memphis losing former commit Charlie Moore, the Tigers are in need of help at the point. The question now is whether or not new head coach Tubby Smith will look to reach out to Fisher.

h/t Memphis Commercial-Appeal