Miami center Reggie Johnson unlikely to play in Hawaii due to jammed left thumb

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Since dropping their season opener at Florida Gulf Coast the Miami Hurricanes have been one of the ACC’s hottest teams, playing well enough to question whether or not Jim Larranaga’s team is the second-best team in the conference.

But after beating host Hawaii in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic without the services of senior center Reggie Johnson, it looks as if Miami will have to navigate the remainder of the event without him as well.

Coach Larranaga stated after Miami’s 73-58 win over Hawaii that he did not expect Johnson to play either tonight or on Tuesday.

The reason is a jammed left thumb, an injury Johnson suffered in the first minutes of Miami’s practice on Friday. Averaging 12.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season, Johnson has been Miami’s most consistent interior presence.

With Johnson sidelined Larranaga turned to fifth-year senior Julian Gamble against Hawaii, and that will be the case again when the Hurricanes take on No. 4 Arizona Sunday night.

Gamble was highly effective in the win over the Warriors on Saturday night, tallying 16 points and 13 rebounds (eight offensive) to help lead Miami to its eighth straight win. Senior guard Durand Scott led the way offensively with 20 points and Trey McKinney-Jones, who spent Friday in the hospital with a 105-degree fever, added 11 off the bench.

Miami will need more of the same from Gamble if they’re to knock off the Wildcats, who enter the contest with three young but very talented big men in Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett and Kaleb Tarczewski. Ashley posted his second double-double of the season in Arizona’s 73-53 win over East Tennessee State on Saturday, finishing with 16 points and ten rebounds.

Beating Arizona without Johnson will require Gamble and Kenny Kadji to hold their own inside, as well as their perimeter weapons producing while limiting their turnover count.

Photo credit: University of Miami

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

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.