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Kentucky freshman Trey Lyles: ‘I’m probably two weeks behind Willie’

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Kentucky traveled to the Bahamas for its summer tour scheduled to play six games in eight days. While the Willie Cauley-Stein and Trey Lyle — two potential starters — made the trip, both were ruled out of the exhibition games.

Before Saturday’s game against Champagne Chalons-Reims of France, Cauley-Stein said he should be “ready to play again” once the team returns to campus. After the game, he added that he needs a CT scan and is likely one week away from returning. The 7-foot junior has been recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the NCAA tournament.

Back in June, Lyles, the 6-foot-10 five-star forward, was ruled out indefinitely while he recovered from a “medical procedure on his left leg”. Following Saturday afternoon’s game, he too updated his status, saying he’s not too far behind Cauley-Stein.

From Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal:

On what’s keeping him sidelined: “I had an injury a couple months ago and just working my way back from it.”

On the actual injury: “It was just my leg.”

On when he’ll be cleared: “I’m probably two weeks behind Willie. I have one more CT scan I gotta go get, too.”

Lyles was the fourth and final commit in Kentucky’s Class of 2014. After five games in the Bahamas, the other three freshmen have been able to stand out. Karl-Anthony Towns is tied with Aaron Harrison for second in scoring at 11.2 points per game while averaging 6.8 boards. Devin Booker has started all five games alongside four returners. Tyler Ulis has worked primarily with the second unit, but was on the floor to close out Saturday afternoon’s win, coming up with a steal leading to a breakaway layup to ice the victory.

Kentucky returns to Lexington after Sunday’s matchup with the Dominican Republic.

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.