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.

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.