C.J. Wilcox, Will Dilorio

Washington guard C.J. Wilcox to return for senior season

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

Having lost three of their top four scorers due to graduation, the Washington Huskies could not afford to lose leading scorer C.J. Wilcox to the next level.

Wilcox averaged 16.8 points and 4.3 rebounds for Lorenzo Romar’s team last season, and the 2013-14 roster will feature newcomers and role players who would benefit from playing alongside a player as experienced as Wilcox.

Luckily for the Huskies that will be the case, as Wilcox has decided to return to school for his fifth season (he redshirted as a freshman).

Wilcox, named team MVP at their end of season banquet, was a second team All-Pac-12 selection and managed to generate some second round buzz among those who evaluate NBA prospects.

But after taking time to consider his options with his father the Pleasant Grove, Utah native ultimately decided that a fifth year in Seattle was the best path to take.

“The main thing is that my dad and I were talking and thinking back to about when I first got here and the vision to redshirt my first year and have that last year to become the best player that I can be and lead the team,” Wilcox said.

“We were not expecting the NBA to come into the picture so fast. That kind of got off track and we lost track of the vision. We started to seriously consider it and meeting with agents. But at the end of the day we went back and wanted to finish what we started and come back for my fifth year and lead the team.”

Wilcox, who is just 20 three-pointers away from overtaking Ryan Appleby (231) as the program’s all-time leader in made three-pointers, will combine with redshirt sophomore Andrew Andrews and freshman Nigel Williams-Goss to form a solid perimeter trio next season.

And even with the possibility of UNLV transfer Mike Moser joining the program (Moser is also considering Oregon according to multiple reports) the Huskies already have two talented transfers who will take the floor in 2013.

Perris Blackwell, who was one of the best front cout players in the WCC during his time at San Francisco, and 6-10 FIU transfer Gilles Dierickx are both eligible and will help Washington account for the graduation of center Aziz N’diaye.

Is this all enough to make the Huskies a factor in the Pac-12 race (Arizona and Colorado should be the preseason favorites)? That remains to be seen, but Washington stands a much better chance of having an impact thanks to the return of Wilcox.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

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.