Mike Aresco

Old Big East to be renamed American Athletic Conference

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The conference formerly known as the Big East, having reached a deal with the so-called “Catholic 7” to give up its name, has been searching in recent weeks for a new moniker. According to a release, it has found one.

The old Big East will now be known as the American Athletic Conference, the conference announced in a statement Wednesday. The league also announced via its Twitter page that it would refer to itself as “The American” and not the conference’s acronym, AAC.

“We worked with our institutions, sports marketing experts, media partners, and also solicited opinions and reactions from collegiate sports fans to create a compelling list of names,” said commissioner Mike Aresco.  “Versions that included the word ‘American’ led every list.  American Athletic Conference represents a strong, durable and aspirational name for our reinvented Conference.”

Beginning at the start of the 2014-15 season, the 11-team conference will feature nine programs that were once members of Conference USA. Only Connecticut and Temple have come from other leagues. Navy will be added as a football-only member in 2015, also not a member of Conference USA. But all movement may not yet be done.

With pieces still shifting on the realignment landscape, there is still a possibility that Connecticut and Cincinnati could make a move and join another conference. Both schools have expressed interest in moving elsewhere in the past.

The American currently has television rights deals with CBS Sports and ESPN.

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

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.