Northwest Florida State has added an intriguing player to their roster, as Stephen Hurt, this season’s Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year, announced that he would be spending next season in the program.
Hurt, a 6-foot-10 center, averaged 11.5 points and 7.8 boards for Lipscomb as a freshman, but he transferred out of the program when longtime head coach Scott Sanderson was let go earlier this spring. Northwest Florida is a powerhouse JuCo program, one that routinely produces a high number of Division I recruits, including the 2013 JuCo National Player of the Year Chris Jones, who is headed to Louisville.
This is an interesting move made by Hurt, and one that could end up making him one of the most sought-after JuCo transfers in the Class of 2014. He won’t have to sit out the 2013-2014 season, instead spending the year developing while playing for Steve Forbes, who was an assistant under Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. He will have just two seasons of eligibility left when he makes it back to the Division I ranks, but by playing for Forbes for a season, he could end up earning himself a scholarship at a school in a higher profile league that he could have simply by enrolling this spring.
Where he ends up will depend on how well he performs at the JuCo level.
But it’s yet another path that can be utilized by athletes looking to play at the highest level of the sport.
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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.