Cole Huff, a 6-foot-8 sophomore forward, was a valuable contributor for Nevada this season, but recently made the decision to transfer from the school for his final two years of eligibility. The Wolf Pack has struggled with transfers in recent years — three players decided Nevada wasn’t the best fit following the 2013 season — and now that Huff has joined that list, there have been significant restrictions placed on where the forward can transfer.
According to Huff’s AAU coach, who also announced the news regarding Huff’s transfer, Huff is prohibited from transferring to any programs within the Mountain West, Pac-12, West Coast, or to any non-conference team on their 2014-15 schedule — a total of 45 teams.
It is unclear what sort of precedent coach David Carter, and the Nevada athletic department, is trying to set with these restrictions. Huff wasn’t a great rebounder, but he was proficient when he stepped on to the floor, combining a soft touch within the arc (50 percent) with an accurate shooting stroke from deep (40 percent). However, Huff wasn’t the team’s best player — that would be Deonte Burton — nor was he one of the best in the Mountain West (a member of the all-MWC honorable mention squad). Huff was an improving and developing forward with potential.
Huff is a native of California, but it seems like the forward is being told if he wants to play at a high-major level, he better leave the west coast: the only way he’ll play for a BCS-conference school is if that team is in a league east of or around the Mississippi River. It’ll be interesting whether Nevada continues to restrict Huff’s next destination; in recent years, there has been backlash when a coach (like Bo Ryan or Phil Martelli) tried to limit or prohibit a player from taking the floor for a rival, geographical or otherwise, school, but there hasn’t been anything of this magnitude. News is quickly spreading throughout social media, and there has been a bit of backlash against Nevada for severely limiting Huff’s options. It is understandable that Carter would be upset Huff decided to leave; a surprising team during MWC play, the squad’s depth takes a significant and considerable hit without Huff, but the program’s actions seem draconian.
No. 25 Texas A&M made a statement on Turkey Day, as they knocked off No. 10 Gonzaga 62-61 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Danuel House led the way with 19 points for the Aggies while Tony Trocha-Morales finished with 14 points as Texas A&M picked up the win despite the fact that they did not score for the final eight minutes of the game.
Billy Kennedy’s club looked the part of an SEC contender, playing tough defense and keeping Gonzaga’s massive and talented front line in check. Perhaps most impressive was that they were able to hang on despite blowing a lead late in the second half, and that they did it with their defense. Gonzaga can score. They have big bodies inside and shooters to surround them, but Domantas Sabonis struggled with foul struggle throughout the game while Kyle Wiltjer did not score in the final 12 minutes.
Kentucky, at this point, is the clear-cut favorite in the SEC, and while Vanderbilt looked really good in Maui this week, A&M looks like they’re going to end up giving the Commodores a run for their money for second-best in the league.
On the other hand, this loss wasn’t a total disaster for the Zags. They had the final possession with a chance to be a good team on a day when Domantas Sabonis was rendered completely ineffective. And, more importantly, point guard Josh Perkins was terrific. He did have a late turnover, but he scored all 15 of his points in the second half as he helped keep the Zags within striking distance.
Texas A&M will play the winner of Syracuse and No. 18 UConn for the title.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.