Having already lost four seniors to graduation, Wagner will have two more spots to fill according to multiple reports. Thursday it was reported that both forward Mario Moody and guard Langston Burnett have been released from their scholarships and will transfer.
Moody averaged 8.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for head coach Bashir Mason, with the latter number ranking second on the team behind Orlando Parker. Parker’s one of the four seniors out of eligibility, with guards Kenneth Ortiz and Latif Rivers and center Naofall Folahan being the others. With those departures, Moody was expected to figure prominently in Wagner’s plans for next season.
However, as noted by Ryan Peters of Big Apple Buckets, the consistency wasn’t always there and that seemed to impact his minutes as the season progressed:
Despite the highlight reel dunks and nationally ranked rebound and block rates, the forward was, once again, somewhat inconsistent in his first season as an upperclassman. Even though he set a career low with 4.9 fouls committed per 40 minutes, Moody barely played more than half of Wagner’s available minutes. Why exactly was that the case? Well, Mason didn’t seem to trust him. In Wagner’s two NEC postseason games, Moody made all six of his field goal attempts and blocked five shots, and yet, the New Jersey native averaged a meager 13 minutes per game when the season was on the line. His lack of playing time didn’t seem to make sense from the outsider’s perspective.
As for Burnett, he played in 20 of Wagner’s 31 games, averaging 5.8 minutes per contest. With guard Dwaun Anderson being Wagner’s most productive returnee and all three signees being perimeter players, Wagner will have some work to do when it comes to grabbing some late front court recruits.
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:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.