Le'Bryan Nash, Isaiah Massey

Three front court reserves to leave Louisiana Tech program

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Michael White’s Louisiana Tech Bulldogs enjoyed a highly successful debut season in Conference USA, winning 29 games and reaching the quarterfinals of the Postseason NIT. Three players on the periphery of the rotation that pressured its way to a share of the Conference USA regular season title, forwards Isaiah Massey and Stojan Gjuroski and center Gilbert Talbot, will be leaving the program.

Massey (academically ineligible for the postseason) played in 31 games last season, starting three, and he averaged 3.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in just under 13 minutes of action per contest. Massey, who redshirted at Ole Miss in 2011-12, just completed his junior season at Louisiana Tech. Gjuroski (0.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg) is expected to explore professional opportunities overseas.

As for the 6-foot-10 Talbot, he played just 6.4 minutes per game in 2013-14. And according to Casey Gisclair of the Tri-Parish Times the big man has already decided on a new school, as he’ll be transferring to New Orleans.

Talbot will have two years of eligibility to play after sitting out the 2014-15 season, and in Gisclair’s story Talbot noted his familiarity with head coach Mark Slessenger and many of the players on the roster as key factors in his decision to transfer to New Orleans.

“A lot of times coaches tell you something to get your interest, but then they don’t follow through with it,” Talbot told Gisclair. “But everything he’s told me, I’ve taken it back to my friends on the team and talked to them about it. They all told me the same thing. They all tell me that Coach Slessinger is legit. If he says something, then that’s how it’s going to go down.”

h/t La Tech Report

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black

Josh Hart, Leron Black
Associated Press
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Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.

Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.

Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).

In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.