Cameron Bairstow, Robert Upshaw

Robert Upshaw suspended for MWC Tournament

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The long-shot chances of Fresno State in this week’s Mountain West Conference Tournament just got a little longer as Robert Upshaw will be suspended for its entirety.

Upshaw, a 7-foot freshman who was a highly-touted signee for the Bulldogs after he de-committed from Kansas State, is averaging 4.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game this season.

No word on the reason for the suspension.

Fresno State was already facing a nearly impossible road to the tournament championship with an 11-18 overall record and a 5-11 conference mark that led to a seven seed in the tournament. Now they’ll have to find another way to defend Colton Iverson in the post, playing two seed Colorado State in the first round.

Fresno State was already going have a rough time in the tournament, one that can only be described as a Gladiator-style gauntlet. Whoever wins that tournament may feel like they’ve won the Hunger Games, as well as lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament because they have nothing left.

Without Upshaw? Fresno State might succumb to those chariots and lions early.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.