Myck Kabongo

Texas will be without Myck Kabongo and Jaylen Bond for Friday’s opener

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NCAA investigations can be a tough situation for both the player and the team for which they play, because there’s rarely a set timeframe in regards to the decision-making process.

The longer an investigation takes the more it becomes an undeclared suspension so to speak, with the player having to sit until the NCAA reaches a verdict (recall how long Renardo Sidney sat a couple years ago before the NCAA handed down a lengthy suspension).

Texas point guard Myck Kabongo finds himself in that spot, and it was reported that the sophomore would have to sit out the Longhorns’ season opener against Fresno State as a result of the NCAA continuing to look into his relationship with agent Rich Paul.

For a team with just two upperclassmen (seniors Andrew Dick and Dean Melchionni, who played in ten games combined last year) losing the player expected to lead the way is a tough blow heading into Friday’s opener.

And Kabongo won’t be the only player out of the lineup for Texas, as McComas also reported that sophomore forward Jaylen Bond is day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. Bond played in all 34 games for the Longhorns last season, starting five games and averaging 3.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.

Losing Bond hurts but the loss of Kabongo is the bigger issue for Texas, especially when considering the fact that you never know how long an NCAA inquiry will take. Freshman Javan Felix is capable of running the show and he’ll be the one who gets the call tomorrow night, but the Longhorns can’t afford for Kabongo to miss an extended period of time.

You could have a spirited discussion over how the NCAA handles investigations, as well as whether or not a third party should handle the enforcement of rules.

But that won’t do Texas (or any other school in a similar situation) much good. All the Longhorns and their fans know for certain is that their point guard won’t play tomorrow night, and they don’t know when he’ll be back either.

Could that open the door for a young Fresno State team hoping to work towards being a formidable team in the Mountain West? Possibly.

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.