Oregon State had already lost Hallice Cooke to transfer in recent weeks and now the Beavers will lose another returning player as a source confirmed to NBCSports.com that junior point guard Challe Barton will forego his senior season to play professionally overseas.
The 6-foot-3 Barton started the 2013-14 season as a starter but after a demotion to Cooke, Barton played just 12 of the final 18 games and played double-digit minutes twice. For his junior season, the native of Sweden averaged three points, 1,1 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.
Barton started 25 games during his Oregon State career but never made much of a contribution on the stat sheet. Barton will test his game overseas and last summer he was one of the final players cut from the Swedish national team.
As Connor Letourneau of the Oregonian notes, Barton’s father, Charles Barton, is also a longtime European professional coach for teams like Sweden’s Gothia Basket and Germany’s Skyliners Frankfurt.
Oregon State will now look to returning freshman point guard Malcolm Duvivier and junior college transfer Gary Payton II to handle the ball. Duvivier averaged 3.1 points and under half an assist a game last season while Payton II averaged 14.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists for Salt Lake Community College, a team that made the NJCAA Division I Championships Sweet 16.
Colorado sophomore forward Tory Miller has been reprimanded by the Pac-12 and he also apologized for biting Air Force’s Hayden Graham earlier this week.
During Colorado’s win over Air Force on Wednesday, Miller was assessed a Flagrant 2 Dead Ball Technical Foul and ejected with 12:25 left in the second half after biting Graham during a loose ball.
In a release from the Pac-12, they announced reprimanding Miller, but he will not be suspended.
“All of our student-athletes must adhere to the Pac-12’s Standards of Conduct and Sportsman-ship,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in the release. “Regardless of Mr. Miller’s frustration and emotion, such behavior is unacceptable and he is being appropriately reprimanded.”
Miller also released his apology in the same release.
“I would like to apologize for my actions during the Air Force game. I would like to apologize to Hayden Graham, Air Force, my teammates and fans. It was a heat of the moment thing. I’m an emotional player, but I let my emotions get the best of me. I will use this as a learning experience and focus on helping my teammates and respecting my opponents for the rest of the season and beyond,” Miller said.
For Miller to not be suspended for this is good news for him and Colorado since he won’t miss any additional action, but did the Pac-12 make the right decision on this?
Michigan State has climbed on the back of star senior wing Denzel Valentine early in the season but they’ll undoubtedly need more help as the season goes on if they want to sustain their current top-5 ranking. One of the keys to the Spartans could be the on-going health of sophomore point guard Lourawls ‘Tum Tum’ Nairn, who is battling a foot injury.
According to a report from Kyle Austin of MLive.com, Nairn has been putting on a protective boot the last few months to help battle plantar fasciitis as the guard has been playing in practices and hasn’t had his minutes reduced in games.
The injury looked like it was hurting Nairn’s early-season play, but he’s been very good in two games at the Wooden Legacy in California this week, so it could be that he’s getting more used to playing through the pain of the injury.
If Nairn is healthy and capable of contributing, he’s a huge boost to Michigan State because he’s one of the fastest players in college basketball and an additional ball handler on the floor. Through six games so far this season, Nairn is averaging 5.3 points and 4.7 assists per game as he’s been one of the team’s best distributors.
Plantar fasciitis can be a tough injury to fight through, so we’ll have to see if this affects Nairn as the season goes along.