UAB Rice Basketball

Arsalan Kazemi to transfer from Rice

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Rice coach Ben Braun had problems with turnover before, but he might’ve just received this season’s finishing blow.

Owl’s senior-to-be Arsalan Kazemi has requested and received a release from his scholarship and is looking to transfer to a high-major school for his final season of eligibility, the school announced in a release.

The release also states that Kazemi may explore “professional career opportunities”.

CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman spoke to Kazemi about his decision to transfer.

“I’m trying to go to a high-major program for my final season,” Kazemi told Goodman. “Those are the schools I’m interested in, but I’ll also consider other schools.”

Those schools Kazemi listed were Kentucky, Texas, Florida, Ohio State, Cincinnati and Oregon.

The 6-7  Iran native averaged 12.1 points and 10.3 rebounds for Rice last season, helping them to a 19-16 record and an 8-8 record in Conference USA.

This is a worst-case scenario for Braun and the Owls. As Goodman points out in his story, they’ve already lost five players off last season’s team to transfer or to playing professionally, but at least they hadn’t lost a conference player of the year candidate in Kazemi. Now he’s gone too. Another of Rice’s top scorers, Connor Frizzelle, was part of those who left, being that he exhausted his eligibility.

In the end, Rice has now lost six of it’s top seven players and has only five returners. That’s turnover, homes.

Braun is going to have to rely heavily on a five-man recruiting class and hope someone else shows up. Tamir Jackson averaged 10.5 points per game, second behind Kazemi, last season. After him, Julian DeBose is the top returning player, averaging 3.7 points and 0.8 assists in 12.8 minutes per game.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can find him on Twitter at @David_Harten.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.