Ahmad Starks

Oregon State junior guard Ahmad Starks to transfer

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According to multiple reports Oregon State junior guard Ahmad Starks has decided to transfer, citing a desire to be closer to his ailing grandmother in his native Chicago.

Starks’ grandmother, who raised Starks, currently suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia according to John Hunt of The Oregonian.

“My plan is to be somewhere in the state of Illinois, as close to home as possible,” Starks told The Oregonian. “It’s not a personal thing, with the coaching staff or anything like that. It’s just about me being close to home and to my grandma. I don’t know how much time she has left.”

According to the paper Starks cited Illinois and Bradley as two of the possible locations. As a junior Starks averaged 10.4 points, 2.3 assists and 1.4 turnovers per contest for an Oregon State team that struggled mightily in Pac-12 play.

The Beavers finished the season with a 14-18 record, going 4-14 in conference play. Starks struggled at times with the balance of running the team while also being asked to score, but the bigger issue for Craig Robinson’s team was their porous defense.

Opponents averaged 71.9 points per game and shot 45.2% from the field in Pac-12 play, numbers that ranked 12th and 11th in the conference. Oregon State also ranked 11th in the conference in defensive efficiency (conference games only).

With Starks’ need to transfer closer to home, head coach Craig Robinson has two starters to replace with the graduating Joe Burton being the other. Oregon State has two signees in the 2013 class in 6-3 shooting guard Hallice Cook and 7-1 center Cheikh N’Diaye.

On the perimeter the Beavers are down to Cook and returnees Roberto Nelson and Challe Barton at the guard spots. With a scholarship opening up, Oregon State may look to find a late addition to add depth.

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.