Kuran Iverson

Memphis freshman Kuran Iverson suspended one game by NCAA

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In one of the rules that tends to rankle more than a few feathers, college basketball players are allowed to play in just one officially sanctioned summer league. Memphis freshman Kuran Iverson became the latest to run afoul of that rule, and as a result he will miss the Tigers’ regular season opener against Austin Peay on November 14.

Iverson’s transgression: playing in both the Memphis-based Bluff City and Greater Hartford Pro-Am leagues over the summer. Iverson’s a native of Hartford, Conn., which explains why he played in the league based in nearby Waterbury, Conn. (the trip from Hartford to Waterbury takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes by car, in case you were wondering).

The rule limiting players to “one team in one league” has been around for a while now, and while it can be debated why such a rule still exists the fact of the matter is that the membership has left it in place.

Iverson will be able to play in Memphis’ exhibition game on November 8, with his first regular season action coming ten days later at Oklahoma State. The Tigers will be fine from a depth standpoint given the many options head coach Josh Pastner can turn to on the wings (seniors Chris Crawford and Geron Johnson, sophomore Damien Wilson and freshman Nick King are four), and their overall depth is expected to make Memphis a contender in the American Athletic Conference.

Surely Memphis would want to have Iverson available, but this suspension is a minor nuisance more than anything.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.