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Bobby Hurley welcomes head role in Buffalo, set to hire staff

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Bobby Hurley was a star in his own right, earning three trips to the Final Four as a member of the Duke Blue Devils and going on to play in the NBA. Now he has a different starring role in a different situation, hired this past week to become the next head coach at Buffalo after the firing of coach Reggie Witherspoon.

He inherits a veteran Buffalo team that finished 14-20 last season, including 7-9 in the MAC.

“We have plans right out of the gate to begin to set a high standard,” Hurley told NBCSports.com. “Every transition is difficult. I’ve been involved in two of them in the last three years. There’s uncertainty and players have relationships with prior coaching staffs, but I’ve got a great feeling.”

Hurley comes to Buffalo after serving as an assistant alongside his brother Dan Hurley at Rhode Island. Hurley took over with the Rams after the firing of coach Jim Baron after last season.

“Dan has been exteremely supportive of my decision and it’s a complex thing with all the relationship and how much I’ve enjoyed coaching and working with them,” he said. “I know he’s going to miss for a lot of different reasons, but he understands what a great opportunity this is for me.”

He comes from a great lineage of basketball coaches, including his father Bob, Sr., who has become a legend in New Jersey high school basketball as the coach of St. Anthony in Jersey City, N.J.

His hiring comes at the same time he has linked up with Thuzio, a business that seeks to reconnect athletes with fans online, through speaking engagements and other avenues.

He now moves on to the next step in the process, which is building a staff and working the recruiting trail for his new program.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people and looking to put together a great staff,” he said. “Looking for people who care about the kids and have their best interest at heart and help them get the job done. That’s the main obstacle.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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.