With the start of the regular season inching closer the Georgetown Hoyas had a significant question that needed answering: when would UCLA transfer Joshua Smith be eligible to play in games? Smith transferred to the Big East school in January after playing six games for the Bruins last season, and it was unknown how long he’d have to sit out.
Wednesday evening the school announced that Smith has been cleared by the NCAA to play immediately, giving Georgetown some additional interior depth for the upcoming season. He’ll have four semesters (two years) of eligibility remaining.
“We are excited that the NCAA has approved the waiver for Joshua,” Georgetown head coach John Thompson III said in the release. “Now, he has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court. He will provide a significant low-post presence for this team.”
In two-plus seasons as a Bruin Smith, who was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school, posted averages of 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. But due to weight (and the subsequent stamina) issues the Kent, Wash. native played an average of just 19 minutes per contest.
In a a story written by Andy Katz of ESPN.com back in August it was reported that Smith had lost around 40 pounds since arriving at Georgetown, down to 310 pounds after playing at 350 while at UCLA. If he’s continued on that path of eating properly and working hard in the weight room, Smith has the talent needed to be a valuable piece for the Hoyas as the look to win the Big East.
But that was something said throughout Smith’s time in Westwood, with the changes necessary for him to be the best player possible never taking place. It’s all a matter of commitment for Smith, and if it remains present both he and Georgetown stand to benefit.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.