Marquette v Miami

Marquette’s Vander Blue to enter the NBA Draft

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After much speculation, Marquette announced Tuesday that guard Vander Blue has decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft, forgoing his final season of eligibility in Milwaukee.

“I’ve had three great years here and appreciate everything Marquette has done for me during that time to help me develop,” Blue said in a statement. “At this point I want to pursue my dream. I’ve prayed about it and discussed it with my family and think this is the right decision for me at this time.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

“As a program, we are all very thankful for everything Vander has done to help our team over the last three years, but more importantly I admire the growth he has made off the floor as a person,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “He has had success in each role that he has played every year he has been here, and has continued to improve. We will always be grateful for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best in his professional career.”

Blue is an intriguing prospect for NBA teams. He’s a terrific athlete that knows how to slash to the rim, averaging 14.8 points, and he was also Marquette’s best perimeter defender this season. But he’s also a junior is college that still hasn’t developed a consistent stroke from the perimeter. His 30.3% shooting from three was his best season to date. It’s gotten better through the years, but he’s a long way from being an NBA caliber shooter, which creates a bit of an issue when he’s projected to be a shooting guard in the league.

He’s a player, however, and he also proved that he’s unafraid of the moment, as he shined during Marquette’s run to this season’s Elite 8.

Draft Express currently projects Blue as a late first round pick, but he’s listed in the 2014 draft.

As for Marquette, losing Blue will hurt. Anyone that watched them play in March and saw just how dominant Blue could be will understand that. But the Golden Eagles bring in a ton of talent on their perimeter — JaJuan Johnson, Duane Wilson, Deonte Burton — and with a front court that will return Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, among others, there are still enough pieces on the roster for Buzz to work his magic.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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.