Larry Brown

South Plains College center Yanick Moreira verbally commits to SMU

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The 2012-13 season is expected to be a tough one for SMU, as they’re lacking for experience in both Larry Brown’s first season as head coach and the school’s final run through Conference USA.

With the upcoming move to the Big East in mind, Brown and his staff needed to hit the recruiting trail hard in order to improve their prospects.

And SMU picked up a third commitment in the 2013 class on Wednesday night, as 6-10 center Yanick Moreira verbally committed to attend the school. Moreira, a native of Angola, was one of the key contributors to a South Plains College team that went 36-0 and won the NJCAA national title last season.

As a freshman Moreira, who joins forwards Ben Moore and Sterling Brown in SMU’s 2013 recruiting haul, averaged 12.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

“I think ultimately, (Moreira’s reason) was Larry Brown,” South Plains head coach Steve Green said, referring to the Mustangs’ new head coach. “Yanick, I think, was sold on the fact that Larry Brown, in basketball circles, is regarded as a very good teacher.

“I think he realizes if he’s ever going to play at the highest level, there’s a lot of things about his game he needs to learn.”

SMU has just one senior (leading returning scorer London Giles) on this year’s squad, and with three Division I transfers (Crandall Head, Markus Kennedy and Nic Moore) sitting out this season the Mustangs will take their lumps as they learn from one of the game’s best coaches.

The good news for SMU fans is that the nucleus of the program is young (centers Jordan Dickerson and Blaise Mbargorba are both freshmen), and those transfers are talented enough to have an impact as soon as they hit the floor in 2013.

SMU begins its season with a tough matchup on November 11 as Loyola Marymount, led by point guard Anthony Ireland, visits Moody Coliseum.

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

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.