Mountain West Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Wyoming v UNLV

UNLV freshmen Daquan Cook and Demetris Morant will be redshirted

Leave a comment

With the amount of talent at Dave Rice’s disposal this season, there were questions as to who would either lose minutes or have to redshirt with an eye towards the future at UNLV.

Those decisions have been made apparently, as the Las Vegas Sun reported on Saturday that freshmen Daquan Cook and Demetris Morant will sit out the 2012-13 campaign.

While this leaves UNLV with nine scholarship players until Pittsburgh transfer Khem Birch becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester, both Cook and Morant were in positions where they’ll see a lot more playing time in the future than they would have this season.

Morant, with the logjam in the paint that includes veterans (Carlos Lopez-Sosa, Mike Moser, Quintrell Thomas) and newcomers (Birch, Anthony Bennett and combo Savon Goodman), was a player pegged by many to be a candidate to sit out this season so that isn’t much of a surprise.

But Cook’s decision could be seen as such, given the fact that the Runnin’ Rebels are lacking when it comes to depth at the point. Anthony Marshall will run the show there, and it was possible that Cook would have been able to help UNLV in regards to getting their senior an occasional breather.

“That was a hard decision to make because Daquan has improved as much as anyone since he got here,” Rice said. “He would play minutes for us this year, but he’ll play more minutes as a fifth-year senior than a freshman. … He needs to get older and stronger; everything else will come.”

Redshirt situations can change, but it will likely take a significant injury to a perimeter player for Cook play this season.

With the Baltimore native being just 17 years old, the extra year to practice and mature physically will be a valuable one. However as a result of the move UNLV fans may have to watch a few games with their fingers crossed, hoping that none of the team’s guards are lost for an extended length of time due to injury.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
Leave a comment

No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
Leave a comment

The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.