James Dickey

Houston signee Danrad “Chicken” Knowles not joining the program this season

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In their final season as a Conference USA member Houston was hoping a five-member recruiting class led by guard/forward Danuel House and forward Danrad “Chicken” Knowles would help them improve on their 15-15 mark in 2011-12.

Unfortunately for head coach James Dickey the Cougars will be without Knowles this season, as it was announced that he won’t be joining the program until next season.

Along with House, freshman center Valentine Izundu and junior college transfers Brandon Morris and Tione Womack (both guards), this group was seen by many as exactly what the Cougars needed to make a smooth transition in to the Big East in 2013.

Knowles will be a part of that group but unlike the other four he won’t have a year of college basketball under his belt.

Neither the school nor Dickey offered any further comment on the situation, citing federal student privacy laws and adding that there would be no further comment.

The remaining four newcomers join a team that lost its top two scorers from last season as both Jonathon Simmons (14.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Alandise Harris (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) left the program.

Simmons declared for the NBA Draft and went undrafted, and Harris transferred to Arkansas.

That leaves sophomores TaShawn Thomas (10.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg) and Joseph Young (11.3 ppg) as their leading returnees from the 2011-12 campaign, meaning that there will be opportunities for the newcomers.

But to not have Knowles, who was a Top 100 recruit according to many of the major recruiting websites, robs the Cougars of a 6-10 talent with the potential to become an even more versatile threat down the line.

And college basketball has to wait for one of the better nicknames around for another year.

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

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

Cliff Ellis
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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

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Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.