Oklahoma State coach Ford reacts to a call during the Cowboys last minute win over Baylor during the NCAA men's Big 12 basketball tournament in Kansas City, Missouri

Oklahoma State’s front court concerns on display in exhibition

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Oklahoma State will enter the 2013-2014 college basketball season with quite a bit of hype.

They’re considered by just about ever prognosticator out there as the clear favorite to end Kansas’ nine-year run of Big 12 regular season titles. Marcus Smart is a consensus preseason all-american and was NBCSports.com’s pick as the preseason Player of the Year. Markel Brown is a preseason all-Big 12 selection. Throw in Le’Bryan Nash, Michael Cobbins and another talented recruiting class, and it’s no surprise that the Pokes are a top 15 team entering the season.

But if there is one major concern with this group, it’s their play on the interior. Do they have a shotblocking presence around the rim? Is there an actual low-post scoring presence? Perhaps most importantly, will the Pokes be able to rebound the ball well enough to compete with the best teams in the country?

Last season, Oklahoma State was a thoroughly mediocre rebounding team, finishing well outside the top 100 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. That was before they lost Phil Jurick, their starting center and best rebounder, to graduation.

Things didn’t look all that promising in Oklahoma State’s first exhibition. The Cowboys took on Campbellsville, a team ranked outside the top 25 in the NAIA preseason rankings that has just two rotation players taller than 6-foot-6, and managed all of six offensive rebounds (and an OR% of just 17.6) in an 80-70 win. I know, I know, offensive rebounding is all about effort and energy, and it’s not necessarily surprising that a Big 12 contender didn’t have a ton of energy playing an NAIA school.

It’s not exactly a cause for alarm, but it’s not going to make the good folks of Stillwater, OK, any less concerned.

Also worth noting is the fact that Le’Bryan Nash came off the bench for the Cowboys on Sunday night. Cobbins and Kamari Murphy started up front with Brian Williams on the wing. Nash played 15 minutes off the bench.

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.