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Five-star 2015 power forward trims list to three

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During this spring/summer power forward Henry Ellenson cemented his status as one of the top players in the Class of 2015, performing well on the grassroots/individual skills camp circuits while also winning a gold medal with the United States U17 team at the FIBA U17 World Championships. Given those accomplishments, along with his junior season at Rice Lake HS in Rice Lake, Wisconsin, it’s understandable that many high-major programs have offered him.

Wednesday night it was reported by multiple outlets that Ellenson has narrowed his list to three schools: Kentucky, Marquette and Michigan State.

RELATED: Henry Ellenson’s junior season mixtape | CBT’s July Evaluation Period Coverage

As a junior Ellenson averaged 27.5 points and 13.1 rebounds per contest, and despite being 6-foot-10 one of his stated goals this summer while at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas was to become a more versatile player.

“Being a ‘mismatch’ guy who can take a big man out on the wing and go by him, or take a smaller guy into the post. A guy who just really picks his spots on offense,” Ellenson said in July.

Something to keep in mind regarding the final three schools on Ellenson’s list is the fact that his older brother Wally transferred to Marquette in the spring. Wally was a member of both the basketball and track programs at Minnesota but he played sparingly, something that is likely to change under Steve Wojciechowski when he becomes eligible to play in 2015-16.

As for whether or not Wally’s transferring to Marquette will affect his final decision, Henry said the following last month:

“It’s a bonus, but overall I’m going to make the decision that’s best for me. [Wally’s transferring to Marquette] is just another positive for that school.”

Kentucky’s recruiting accomplishments under John Calipari have been highly impressive, and Tom Izzo’s work at Michigan State isn’t to be overlooked either. But the recruitment of Henry Ellenson provides Steve Wojciechowski with an opportunity to make a major splash in his first year as a Division I head coach.

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.