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Connecticut to break ground on new $32 million basketball facility

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The University of Connecticut will soon begin construction on a $32 million basketball facility after raising close to $24 million of private funds, the school announced Tuesday.

With 75% of the project funded, ground can be broken on the project, and the school expects to pick up the tab for the remaining $8 million.

“UConn is fortunate to have many strong supporters across the nation, who have dedicated themselves to the academic advancement of the university, the research ambitions of our faculty and students, as well as athletics,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in a release.

“As we continue to build and renovate so many facilities on our multiple campuses, an outstanding new home is needed for our championship men’s and women’s basketball programs.”

The project is expected to take two years once financing is in place and will be built next to Gampel Pavilion. Among the expected features of the new facility are basketball courts for both the men’s and women’s teams, staff offices, classrooms, locker rooms, weight rooms, and a sports medicine center, according to the AP.

Connecticut alumnus Mark Shenkman and his wife Rosalind are two of the major donors to the project, contributing $2 million to the construction of the facility.

“Rosalind and I feel very blessed to be able to make this gift to the University of Connecticut. This gift represents an investment in the future of UConn basketball,” Shenkman said in a statement.

“After recently visiting the practice facilities at other institutions, I realized the importance that a practice facility can have in conveying the strength of a program. The completion of this basketball practice facility will certainly perpetuate UConn’s preeminent position as one of America’s college basketball capitals.”

The Huskies begin their first season under new head coach Kevin Ollie in 2012-13. They open their season on Nov. 9 against Michigan State.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.