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.”
Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.
Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.
Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year
“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”
The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.
CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.
The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.
The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.
The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.
VIDEOS: Stephen Curry’s personally invites athletes to his select camp
John Calipari has a goal this offseason: to lose some weight.
“Mid-50s, I let it go a little bit,” Calipari said as he worked out on an elliptical. “Had a heck of a year. But going forward, gotta get in better shape. Gotta get the body right. Started a week ago. What I will say to you is really simple. I’m not showing you my body for a month.”
The reason why Cal needs to get into shape?
He’s going to have to coach this year, because Tyler Ulis is heading to the NBA.
“I shoulda got some of his salary,” Ulis joked.
Cal won’t have to coach too hard. He’s got one of the best recruiting classes in the country coming into the program, including three top ten players and five of the nation’s top 30 prospects.