Rashad McCants celebrates

Former UNC guard Rashad McCants refuses to back down from academic fraud claims

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Friday an ESPN Outside the Lines report focused on former North Carolina guard Rashad McCants and his assertion that he took phony classes during his time in Chapel Hill. According to McCants not only did those courses help him avoid academic ineligibility during the 20024-05 season, but the courses also resulted in his making the Dean’s List with straight-A’s.

North Carolina head coach Roy Williams, who was McCants’ coach at the time of the alleged academic issues, vehemently denied McCants’ claims and has seen many former players rush to his defense. Wednesday, McCants was once again discussing his time at North Carolina on the ESPN show, and he stood by his statements last week regarding not only the phony classes but the statement that Williams knew what was going on.

On Wednesday, McCants also stood behind an allegation he made directly about Williams: That, when he was possibly headed toward ineligibility during the 2004-05 national championship season due to grades, Williams told him in a meeting that a summer session could be swapped out with a failed class to improve his GPA.

Williams adamantly denied Saturday that he ever discussed swapping any classes with McCants; further, he said he did not recall such a meeting “at all.”

But on Wednesday, McCants said: “Maybe he’s getting a little old. You know, that’s something that I can’t … I don’t have any control over what he remembers. All I know is the truth. And I’m not up here to lie about anything.”

At this point the situation is a matter of “he said/he said,” with many pointing out McCants’ flaws both during and after his time in Chapel Hill as a reason why he shouldn’t be deemed to be credible. However during his appearance on ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Wednesday McCants also issued a challenge of sorts to his former teammates who have denied his claims.

That challenge: for them to make their own transcripts public, noting that “the truth is there in the transcripts.” The question now is whether or not his former teammates will take McCants up on his request.

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.