Kevin Olekaibe, Anthony Drm

Fresno State transfer Kevin Olekaibe to walk-on at UNLV, apply for hardship waiver

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One of the reasons that Katin Reinhardt made the decision to transfer out of UNLV last month was that head coach Dave Rice was going to be playing him primarily off the ball if he returned.

That’s what happens when the Rebels have four other options at the point guard spot.

They may have added another one, however, as Fresno State transfer Kevin Olekaibe has enrolled at the school and started taking classes, according to a report from the Las Vegas Sun. Olekaibe, a native of Las Vegas, made it quite obvious that was true when he tweeted that he’s “back in my city” last night.

Olekaibe struggled as a junior, seeing his production drop from 17.3 points as a sophomore to just 8.3 points as a junior, by far the lowest of his career, but he did average 17.0 points as the Bulldogs knocked off UNLV twice this past season, handing out eight assists in the win on March 9th.

Olekaibe joins a deep back court that includes JuCo transfers Jelan Kendrick (Memphis and Ole Miss), DeVille Smith (Mississippi State), sophomore DaQuan Cook and freshman Kendall Smith. But playing time isn’t as important to Olekaibe as being in Vegas; he’s even willing to walk-on next season. He wants to be closer to his father, who has been moved to hospice care and is paralyzed from the waist down. From the Las Vegas Sun:

Olekaibe left Fresno State after three seasons in April because his ailing father was transferred to a Las Vegas hospice. His father is paralyzed from the waist down and unable to speak — the result of two strokes.

“I don’t remember the last words he said to me,” Olekaibe said. “His left side in unresponsive. He doesn’t speak. He always told me family comes first, so coming home was an easy decision.”

The Mountain West has a rule that requires in-conference transfers to sit out two seasons, and since Fresno State is now a member of the MWC, if Olekaibe doesn’t get a waiver from the NCAA, his college career will be over.

If the NCAA was ever going to grant a hardship waiver, this would be the situation. Let’s hope they do the right thing.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Alleged victim of Carlton Bragg Jr. assault held in jail

Douglas County Sheriff
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Carlton Bragg Jr.’s battery case took an interesting twist Saturday morning.

On Friday afternoon, a 19-year old woman was arrested at the same address that Bragg was arrested. She was charged with suspicion of battery at 4:42 p.m., after Bragg’s appearance in court, and it was filed under the same case number as Bragg’s. The Kansas City Star is reporting that the woman is Bragg’s girlfriend.

According to Douglas County Sheriff’s records, the woman is still in custody.

NBC Sports is not identifying the woman as she has not yet been charged with a crime.

Bragg was charged with battery, a misdemeanor, Friday afternoon after an early morning arrest. He was accused of striking his girlfriend and pushing her down stairs. He has been suspended indefinitely by Kansas head coach Bill Self and will not play in Saturday afternoon’s game at Phog Allen Fieldhouse against Nebraska.

Oklahoma State adds 2017 commitment from guard Amauri Hardy

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Oklahoma State added an important commitment from one of the best available Class of 2017 guards on Friday as Amauri Hardy pledged to the Cowboys.

The 6-foot-2 Hardy is regarded by some recruiting services as a top-100 player as he gives head coach Brad Underwood a key commitment for Oklahoma State. A quick scoring guard who plays with a lot of energy, Hardy had a solid summer with The Family as the Michigan native offers up some insurance for Oklahoma State at guard.

Since Phil Forte is exhausting his eligibility after this season and sophomore point guard Jawun Evans is having a monster year and could go pro, having Hardy’s commitment is a good backup plan. If Evans does return for his junior season, Hardy can provide valuable backup minutes while also being able to play a bit off the ball alongside Evans.

Hardy joins four-star guard Zach Dawson and three-star forward Latravian Glover in Oklahoma State’s Class of 2017 recruiting efforts.

VIDEO: Taylor University celebrates 20th anniversary of Silent Night tradition

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Taylor University celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Silent Night Game on Friday night.

The Division III school in Upland, Indiana has one of the best traditions in college sports as Taylor has its fanbase stay completely silent until the team scores its 10th point of the game. Upon scoring the team’s 10th point, the Taylor students go ballistic as they storm the court and temporarily stop the game. Dressing up in all sorts of group costumes, the Taylor students bring out some of the best ideas you’ll see from any college fanbase in the country.

As for the game, Taylor jumped out to a 37-9 lead on Lincoln Christian University and never looked back as they won 99-68. The win moves Taylor’s record to 20-0 all-time in Silent Night games.

Jake Heggeland was the game’s high scorer with 18 points for Taylor while Evan Crowe broke the Taylor silence for the second consecutive year.

Kansas forward arrested on suspicion of battery

Douglas County Sheriff
Douglas County Sheriff
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Kansas forward Carlton Bragg Jr. was charged today with one count of battery.

According to a press release sent out by the Douglas County district attorney’s office, police received a call around 1 a.m. from a woman who said that “her boyfriend had struck her and pushed her down stairs during an argument.”

The DA also included a note in the statement that, essentially, said the only reason Bragg wasn’t charged with domestic violence – he was initially arrested on suspicion of domestic battery – was due to a technicality. Since the couple is only dating and not married, under Kansas law, the assault does not constitute domestic violence.

Battery is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison.

Bragg, who was still in custody until an appearance in court on Friday afternoon, was held on bond of $500. Bragg plead not guilty.

“We are still trying to gather information,” head coach Bill Self told The Star. “But it is a charge which we take very seriously.”

Bragg is a 6-foot-8 sophomore that lost his spot in the starting lineup earlier this year. He is averaging 7.8 points and 5.3 boards in 16 minutes. No. 3 Kansas hosts Nebraska on Saturday.

St. John’s to lose center to transfer

PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 13: Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats has his shot blocked by Yankuba Sima #35 of the St. John's Red Storm at the Wells Fargo Center on February 13, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Villanova won 73-63. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Yankuba Sima will transfer out of the St. John’s program, the school announced on Friday.

“I want to thank the coaching staff and the administration for all of their support since I arrived at St. John’s,” said Sima. “I enjoyed my experience at St. John’s, but right now I feel it is best for me to explore options that will be a better fit for me as I work toward my goals.”

“We wish Yankuba the best of luck,” said head coach Chris Mullin. “I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him, but we respect and understand it. He’s a good basketball player and a good person with a bright future ahead.”

Sima started 26 of the 34 games he played with the Johnnies, including eight starts this season. He was averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 boards this year.