Travis McKie, Julian Royal

Former Georgia Tech forward Julian Royal transferring to George Mason

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6-8 forward Julian Royal committed to attend Georgia Tech while Paul Hewitt was the head coach, only to never play for the man who recruiting him with Hewitt taking over at George Mason after being fired by the ACC school.

After two seasons in Atlanta Royal will get the opportunity to play for Hewitt, as it was reported by Mason Recruiting that Royal has decided to transfer to George Mason. Vanderbilt was also in the running for Royal’s services.

In two seasons at Georgia Tech, Royal averaged 3.2 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in just under 12 minutes of action per contest.

As a sophomore Royal’s playing time dropped by nearly ten minutes per game (6.6 mpg), and he averaged just 1.7 points and 1.2 rebounds per game.

Originally Royal, considered to be a Top 100 recruit out of high school, committed to attend Georgia but flipped to Georgia Tech thanks in large part to Hewitt.

Royal will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2013-14 campaign, and his arrival helps a George Mason program that will need to replace power forwards Jonathan Arledge and Johnny Williams after their debut season in the Atlantic 10.

Over-hyped or just under-utilized, Royal will now have a year to work on his game and get better. After losing both Jonathan Arledge and Johnny Williams after this upcoming season, bringing in Royal to fill the void will help ease the transition of breaking in the 2014 recruiting class. The Patriots will have a lot of new faces on the roster at that point and it will be a huge bonus to plug in a veteran forward.

In addition to Royal, George Mason should have veterans Anali Okoloji and Eric Copes in the front court in 2014-15.

Raphielle 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.