King Rice

Forward Nikola Vujovic won’t be joining Monmouth program

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In the aftermath of having four players decide to leave his program just a couple weeks after the 2013-14 season came to an end, Monmouth head coach King Rice put the finishing touches on a solid recruiting class. One of the players in that class was 6-foot-8 forward Nikola Vujovic, a native of Serbia who attended Notre Dame Prep last year. Unfortunately for Vujovic and the basketball program, it was reported Thursday by Josh Newman of the Asbury Park Press that the forward will not be a member of the program this season.

The issue, as told to Newman by Monmouth athletic director Dr. Marilyn McNeil, was that Vujovic struggled with the test that European students attempting to enroll at Monmouth have to take in order to show that they’re proficient enough in the English language to handle the coursework.

Indications are Vujovic got through the NCAA Eligibility Center with a GPA approaching 3.0.

“Yes, his admission was denied based on our standards, the metrics for international students,” McNeil said at the Charlotte Marriott Center City. “He’s gone back to Serbia. I think the opportunity for him to improve his English there is strained, but he’s a young man that doesn’t come from a wealthy family and he probably needed some more tutoring. It’s not good.”

Vujovic being denied admission drops Monmouth to 13 scholarship players in 2014-15, with that number representing the maximum number of scholarships allowed by the NCAA. Among the newcomers added to the program is Providence graduate transfer Brice Kofane, and while he didn’t play a high number of minutes as a Friar his experience can help the Hawks inside.

The Hawks, who finished their first season as a member of the MAAC with an 11-21 record (5-15 MAAC), return their top two scorers from last season in guards Deon Jones (15.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Andrew Nicholas (14.2, 3.3) with both being seniors in 2014-15. Overall, Monmouth returns its top six scorers from last season, which should serve the Hawks well as they look to move up the MAAC standings.

No. 13 Iowa State suspends Jameel McKay indefinitely

Iowa State forward Georges Niang, forward Jameel McKay, forward Abdel Nader and guard Deonte Burton celebrate after center Stuart Nezlek scored late in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Coppin State, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 104-84 (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
AP Photo/Justin Hayworth
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Already lacking depth, No. 13 Iowa State will be short a key contributor Saturday when they take on Oklahoma State in Stillwater.

Friday night it was announced that senior forward Jameel McKay has been suspended indefinitely by head coach Steve Prohm and did not make the trip with the team. McKay, who’s been dealing with knee issues recently, is averaging 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game on the season.

Over the last six games he’s averaging 7.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest, shooting 60.6 percent from the field.

McKay has been asked to man the middle for a team lacking in both size and depth, with Georges Niang shifting over to the five when McKay needs a break for either rest or foul trouble reasons. Without McKay even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of Niang, Abdel Nader and Deonte Burton in the front court.

The Cyclones are looking to end a two-game losing streak, and even with Oklahoma State’s struggles accomplishing that gets tougher with McKay out of the lineup.

News of McKay’s suspension was first reported by the Ames Tribune.

UNLV dismisses guard Daquan Cook from team

Illinois v UNLV
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LAS VEGAS (AP) UNLV junior guard Daquan Cook has been dismissed from the team.

Interim coach Todd Simon made the announcement on Friday, though no reason was given.

Cook was suspended for 13 games by previous coach Dave Rice in November after being arrested and charged with DUI.

Cook appeared in two games this season after being reinstated, scoring three points in four minutes. He missed the 2014-15 season after tearing his right ACL and played 28 games as a sophomore.