Minnesota and new head coach Richard Pitino had a tough blow on Friday as the school announced that junior center Maurice Walker would be suspended the first six games of the season for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
The 6-foot-10 junior center averaged 2.2 points and two rebounds per game in a little over six minutes per game last season but put up 17 points and 13 rebounds in a Minnesota exhibition win earlier this week and has lost 60 pounds this offseason.
According to a report from Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press, Pitino and the team is excited to get Walker back and he could be an impact at center when he comes back.
“We support Mo,” Pitino said to Fuller. “We love Mo, can’t wait to get him back in Maui. He’s going to be a big help to our basketball team.”
Walker took in Minnesota’s 81-62 win over Lehigh in street clothes and he’ll return for the second round of the Maui Invitational after the Gophers face Syracuse in the first game.
This is pretty nice from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who has made a habit out of getting themselves on the highlight reel.
Here’s another angle of the dunk:
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: