(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Grand Canyon cleared for D-I play by NCAA

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PHOENIX (AP) — Grand Canyon has been granted Division I active membership by the NCAA following a four-year transition period.

The school said it was informed by the NCAA on Wednesday and will begin Division I play in the 2017-18 season.

Grand Canyon went 81-46 in four seasons under coach Dan Majerle, the best record among 36 schools that transitioned to Division I since 2000. The Antelopes are one of six teams to have a winning record during its transition in that span.

Grand Canyon played a Division I schedule in the Western Athletic Conference last season, but was not eligible for the NCAA Tournament. The Antelopes are expected to be immediately competitive in the WAC after Majerle, a former Phoenix Suns forward, brought in a strong recruiting class.

Grand Canyon head coach Dan Majerle receives extension through 2018

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After leading Grand Canyon to a third-place finish in the WAC and a spot in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in his first season as head coach, Dan Majerle was rewarded with a contract extension though the 2017-18 season on Thursday according to the school. Overall the Antelopes, who are making the transition to the Division I level, finished the 2013-14 season with a 15-15 record.

“Coach Majerle exceeded expectations in our initial year of the Division I membership process,” school president Brian Mueller said in the release. “We are pleased to announce that we have extended his contract to include an additional year and a salary increase. We are excited about the coming season and the future of GCU basketball.”

Grand Canyon finished third in the WAC last season but did not play in the conference tournament due to the program’s provisional Division I status. Heading into 2014-15 GCU will have to account for the graduation of center Killian Larson, who led the team in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 17.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest.

However two other double-digit scorers, guard Jerome Garrison (16.5 ppg) and forward Daniel Alexander (12.7, 5.6 rpg), do return for the Antelopes.

Demetrius Walker and Jeff Lowery dismissed from Grand Canyon team


Demetrius Walker and Jeff Lowery have both been dismissed from Grand Canyon’s basketball team for a “violation of team rules,” head coach Dan Majerle announced on Friday.

Majerle wouldn’t go into details for the dismissal, leaving it at: “It’s very disappointing for everyone involved, but our program remains committed to performing to the best of our ability.”

Walker, who is a graduate student and eligible to play for just this season at Grand Canyon, is their best player. He is averaging 16.9 points and pulling down 5.6 rebounds. If Walker’s name sounds familiar that’s because he played for New Mexico the prior two seasons, and then for Arizona State for the 2009-10 season.

Walker’s problems have clearly continued to follow him. Last season, prior to the start of the Mountain West conference tournament, Walker was suspended by Steve Alford at New Mexico. That suspension ultimately led to Walker leaving the program. Because he had already graduated from New Mexico, Walker was able to play at Grand Canyon without having to sit out a season.

Along with Walker and Lowery being dismissed from the program, Justin Foreman has been suspended indefinitely. Lowery has seldom played this season due to a foot injury, but played in 31 games last season and saw better than 10 minutes of action per game.

Foreman, however, is another grave loss for the immediate future. The 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 25.3 minutes.  There is no timetable for his suspension to be lifted.

In their first season as Division I program competing in the WAC, Grand Canyon has been competitive. They are 5-6, although three of those wins have come against sub-D1 competition, yet they have had close losses against New Mexico, Tulsa, and Loyola Marymount.

Grand Canyon has one more non-conference game remaining at Chattanooga before WAC play begins.