2013 Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic - Florida Gulf Coast v Radford

Medical issue forces FGCU freshman guard to redshirt

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With seniors Brett Comer, Bernard Thompson and Jamail back, FGCU has the best perimeter trio in the Atlantic Sun heading into the 2014-15 season. However there is the need for some additional depth, something freshmen Zach Johnson and Christian Terrell were expected to provide along with Auburn transfer Brian Greene Jr. However while Terrell remains on track to help the Eagles as they look to return to the NCAA tournament after falling short of their goal last season, the same can’t be said for Johnson.

Thursday evening the school announced that Johnson, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Miami, will have to redshirt for medical reasons. The school did not disclose what the medical issue is, citing federal privacy laws in the release.

“I’m saddened to learn that Zach won’t be able to play this year. He and his family have been unbelievable during this whole process, and Zach and his mother, Irose, have been, and will continue to be, an extremely important part of our program,” FGCU head coach Joe Dooley said in the release.

“I wish Zach and his family nothing but the best during this difficult time. Though he’s only been with us for short time, Zach has been a tremendous competitor who has made everyone better, and he’s done it with a smile and terrific personality. We hope that he’s able to get back on the court, but in the meantime he will continue to be a valued member of our program.”

With Johnson unable to play the Eagles will have three newcomers looking to earn minutes this season. In addition to Terrell, FGCU adds UNLV transfer Demetris Morant and fellow sophomore Eric Moeller, who attended the College of Central Florida last season. Morant will be eligible to play immediately, as the request for a waiver was granted by the NCAA.

The Eagles, who finished the 2013-14 season with a 22-13 record and won a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season title, return four of their top six scorers from a season ago. The two losses were forwards Chase Fieler (13.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg), who was also the team’s leading rebounder, and guard Eric McKnight (6.9, 5.1).

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.