Michael Holahan/Augusta Chronicle

Mississippi State lands two-sport athlete Elijah Staley

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It’s been a good week for Mississippi State on the recruiting front.

Already having received verbal commitments from two members of the 2015 class in Joseph Struggs and Dante Scott, Mississippi State has landed 6-6 small forward Elijah Staley.

Staley, who attends Wheeler HS in Marietta, Ga., announced his decision to the public via the new social media app Vine. Staley informed the coaches at Mississippi State (as well as his other two choices: Miami and Virginia) earlier this week.

Highly regarded for his talent as a dual-threat quarterback, the left-handed Staley will play both sports in Starkville. The desire to play both sports in college was a sticking point for his original school of choice, as Staley de-committed from Vanderbilt in April after learning that he would not be allowed to do so there.

Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Ray actually offered Staley a scholarship more than a year ago. Ray recruited Staley since he was an assistant at Clemson and really put on the full pursuit once he arrived in Starkville.

When the football staff also offered Staley a scholarship, he knew it was the place for him.

“They said I’d definitely have a possibility of playing early because they only have two quarterbacks,” he said. “They said they’d work with me on the basketball thing. I’d have a chance to come in and compete for the starting job early.”

While Staley has the option to play both sports at Mississippi State, he did state in the story written by John Talty of the Clarion-Ledger that he’ll ultimately go with the sport that gives him the greatest opportunity to play professionally.

But that’s a conversation for another day, as Staley’s commitment is good news for a program that didn’t enjoy a great amount of success in 2012-13.

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.