Pac 12 Basketball Tournament - First Round

JUCO guard Roosevelt Scott becomes Arizona State’s fourth 2014 commitment

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On the day that the 2013-14 Arizona State Sun Devils began their trek to China, thus taking the next step in their preparations for the upcoming season, head coach Herb Sendek received his fourth commitment in the 2014 recruiting class.

Indian Hills JC shooting guard Roosevelt Scott announced his decision to attend the Pac-12 school (subscription required), joining guards Tra Holder, Kodi Justice and power forward Connor MacDougall in the Sun Devils’ 2014 recruiting haul. Scott, a 6-3 guard who’s originally from St. Paul, Minn., averaged 16.9 points per game as a high school senior at Johnson HS before making the move to the College of Central Florida.

After playing for a semester on a team that ultimately finished the 2011-12 season as state junior college runners-up, Scott made the move to Indian Hills where he’ll play this upcoming season. Indian Hills head coach Barret Peery lauded Scott’s ability as a perimeter defender when commenting about his player’s decision to commit to Arizona State.

“Roosevelt is a very long active athlete, he’s got tremendous energy and can play really fast,” Indian Hills coach Barret Peery said. ”He gets to the rim very easily. He’s a fantastic defender. He’s a great slashing athlete, finishing at the rim. He’s a capable shooter, but a really good, active athlete.”

Who all returns to Tempe for the 2014-15 season remains to be seen, but the Sun Devils will definitely have to account for the graduation of center Jordan Bachynski and Penn State transfer guard Jermaine Marshall.

The biggest question mark would be the status of point guard Jahii Carson, who in one season established himself as one of the nation’s best at his position and preseason favorite for Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2013-14. If Carson performs as expected, 2014 commit Tra Holder will likely have a lot more responsibility on his plate when he arrives.

Arizona State has five newcomers (in addition to Marshall) joining the program this season including Michigan State transfer Brandan Kearney, who will be eligible to play at the end of the fall semester. Sophomore Calaen Robinson will also be eligible to play after sitting out the entire 2012-13 campaign.

Can the Sun Devils take the next step and reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009? With Carson running the show that’s definitely a possibility, with the next question being whether or not they can build on that success if a tournament trip comes to fruition.

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.