Rhode Island v Butler

Jordan Hare may return to Rhode Island program this summer

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After averaging 5.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game as a freshman, Rhode Island forward Jordan Hare entered the 2013-14 season with the look of a player who could take another step forward for Dan Hurley. However that wasn’t meant to be, as Hare left the team before the start of the season to attend to personal issues.

Hare wouldn’t play in a single game for the Rams in 2013-14, a tough loss considering the fact that URI wasn’t the deepest team in the front court even with the Michigan native in the fold. The question regarding Hare was whether or not he’d return in 2014-15, and according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal there’s a decent chance that Hare will be back in a Rhode Island uniform.

Sources close to the Rams’ program say Hare is now planning on a return to school in time for a summer session. He’ll work towards regaining his eligibility for the 2014-15 season, a goal that is within reach.

Hare would not return a phone call to discuss his status. He left the team last fall, in part to take care of his young daughter back home.

The return of Hare will certainly help Rhode Island from a depth standpoint as they look to improve their standing within the Atlantic 10. URI returns one of the better freshmen in the Atlantic 10 in forward Hassan Martin, along with veterans Gilvydas Biruta and Ifeanyi Onyekaba. Rhode Island will also add junior college transfer Earl Watson this summer.

In addition to those front court options URI will also welcome back the reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year in guard E.C. Matthews, with leading scorer Xavier Munford being their biggest personnel loss.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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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:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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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.