Jeff Jones

Old Dominion adds Garden City CC forward Josue Ebondo to roster

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Entering their first season as a member of Conference USA, the Old Dominion Monarchs don’t have a great amount of depth in their front court. With leading scorer and rebounder DeShawn Painter (13.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg) having graduated, first-year head coach Jeff Jones was essentially down to two upperclassmen (senior Anton Larsen and junior and Richard Ross; Nik Beribaj has to sit out the season as a transfer) and freshman Denzell Taylor in the paint.

On Friday the school announced that the Monarchs have added a piece to the rotation in the form of 6-7 junior power forward Josue Ebondo, who last season played at Garden City CC in Kansas.

“Ebondo is a versatile forward with a 7-1 wing span and can guard multiple positions,” Jones said in the release. He is an outstanding rebounder and will add much needed front court depth.  We are excited to have Joe join our program.“

ODU struggled mightily last season, winning just five games in their final season as a member of the CAA. Head coach Blaine Taylor was relieved of his duties during the season, and the Monarchs ranked in the bottom half of the CAA in most of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively.

In addition to having to remedy those issues coach Jones and his staff will also have to become familiar with a new league. The good news for Old Dominion is that guards Aaron Bacote, Dmitri Batten and Keenan Palmore are back, giving the Monarchs three perimeter players capable of being productive in the program’s C-USA debut.

How much the team can improve upon its win total of a season ago may ultimately depend upon how well the front court plays, especially when considering their lack of depth. Even with the late addition of Ebondo, ODU is in a position where they can ill afford any injuries to their post players.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.