Bruce Weber

Kansas State, Texas A&M agree to two-year series

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Both Kansas State and Texas A&M took another step towards completing their respective non-conference slates on Friday, as it was announced that the former conference foes have agreed to a two-year series. This won’t be your standard home-and-home series either, as the first game in the deal will be played in Kansas City on December 20, 2014.

While that will surely be a pro-Kansas State environment, playing at the Sprint Center isn’t the same as attempting to leave the “Octagon of Doom” in Manhattan with a victory. The return game will be played in College Station in December 2015.

Kansas State reached the NCAA tournament in Bruce Weber’s first season at the helm, falling to eventually national finalist Kentucky in the round of 64. Kansas State lost two key contributors in guards Shane Southwell and Will Spradling, but they return some solid pieces led by dynamic guard Marcus Foster. Add in a Top 100 prospect in forward Malek Harris, and Kansas State should be in contention for a return to the NCAA tournament.

As for Texas A&M the 2014-15 season shapes up as an important one for Billy Kennedy, who has just one postseason appearance to his credit in three seasons at the helm (2014 CBI). Guards Alex Caruso and Jordan Green return, and the addition of highly regarded freshman point guard Alex Robinson will be critical for the Aggies.

Games like this one, and an appearance in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off (which includes national champion UConn), have the potential to help Texas A&M as they look to make a move up the pecking order in the SEC.

“They’re an NCAA Tournament team that will have some key guys back and are coached by Bruce Weber, who is one of the better coaches in the country,” Kennedy said of Kansas State in the Texas A&M release. “Playing this game will help prepare us for the rest of our schedule, especially when we begin facing tough SEC competition.”

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.