Summer league debut represents step forward for Iowa State’s Georges Niang

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Entering the NCAA tournament on the heels of winning their first Big 12 tournament title since 2000, Iowa State had the look of a team capable of making a run to the Final Four. With the triumvirate of guard DeAndre Kane and forwards Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang leading the way, Fred Hoiberg was in charge of one of the nation’s most efficient offensive attacks.

But the Cyclones’ Round of 64 win over North Carolina Central came at a cost, as Niang broke his right foot late in the second half. While Iowa State had enough to get past North Carolina in the next round, thanks in large part to the Herculean effort put forth by Kane, they were unable to advance any further as eventual champion UConn eliminated them in the Sweet 16.

With Kane and Ejim out of eligibility, Niang will be Iowa State’s most productive returnee in 2014-15 and that makes his health even more important for the Cyclones. On Sunday the 6-foot-7 forward made his return to game action, playing in the YMCA Capital City Summer League in West Des Moines, Iowa.

It was a productive afternoon for Niang, who accounted for 29 points and 11 rebounds. And in speaking with Randy Peterson of the Des Moines Register, Niang mentioned the work he’s done in not only rehabbing his foot but also changing his body.

Niang finishes above the rim better than last season because his body has changed — he’s down 20 pounds, to around 220.

“I’m working to get my body fit,” he said. “It’s more like a lifestyle change, than a quick fix. I’m working on eating healthy. Guys tell me your body is a temple, so you might as well treat it as one.

“You can’t put diesel fuel in a regular car — and you have to put good stuff in your body. When you do, good things will come out of it.”

Niang and fellow forward Dustin Hogue are Iowa State’s two returning double-figure scorers, and they’ll have help from players such as Naz Long, Monte Morris, Matt Thomas (who’s currently suspended) and newcomers Bryce Dejean-Jones and Jameel McKay. With that being the case the cupboard certainly isn’t bare in Ames, but Niang’s transformation will be something to keep an eye on as Iowa State looks to make another NCAA tournament appearance.

Playing in a summer league game may not be a big deal when compared to the battles of the Big 12, but being healthy enough to do so is a positive step for Georges Niang.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.

 

N.C. State lands second transfer of day with Utah’s Devon Daniels

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A big recruiting day for N.C. State continued on Saturday afternoon as Utah transfer and guard Devon Daniels pledged to the Wolfpack.

Earlier in the day, N.C. State and new head coach Kevin Keatts landed another quality transfer in UNC Wilmington guard C.J. Bryce.

The 6-foot-5 Daniels just finished his freshman season with the Utes in which he put up 9.9 points 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Just like Bryce, Daniels will have to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations before he has three more seasons of eligibility.

N.C. State now has two potential starters on the perimeter for the 2018-19 season with the addition of Bryce and Daniels as it will be interesting to see what kind of talent the Wolfpack can get around them.