Former San Jose State guard Rashad Muhammad has transferred to Miami, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com on Friday night.
Jeff Goodman of ESPNfirst reported the news. DePaul and San Francisco were also reportedly in the mix for his services.
Rashad Muhammad is the brother of ex-UCLA Bruin and current Minnesota Timberwolves guard Shabazz Muhammad.
The 6-foot-6 sophomore averaged 13.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, scoring in double figures 43 times in 58 games with the Spartans. The sophomore was the bright spot on a 2-28 team that failed to defeat a Division I opponent during the 2014-15 season. Muhammad announced his decision to transfer out of the program on May 23.
Muhammad will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2015-16 season, per NCAA transfer rules. Following the 2015-16 campaign, the Hurricanes will need to replace the production of Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, the team’s top two returning scorers. Miami’s back court depth took a hit this spring when Manu Lecomte and Deandre Burnett both decided to leave the program.
Slowly but surely college basketball programs are releasing their full non-conference schedules. And in the case of the 11 members of the Mountain West, they now know their possible path to a regular season conference title.
Wednesday the conference released its full league schedule, with four games on December 30 marking the start of conference play. Each team will play eight opponents both home and away, with single games (one home, one away) against the other two teams to reach a total of 18 conference games.
Of the four conference games to be played December 30, Fresno State’s trip to UNLV could be the most intriguing matchup. While the Runnin’ Rebels add one of the nation’s top recruiting classes to help account for the loss of four starters, most notably Christian Wood and Rashad Vaughn, Fresno State returns its top five scorers from a season ago led by senior guard Marvelle Harris.
Also on the schedule December 30 are Wyoming visiting preseason favorite San Diego State in a rematch of last year’s Mountain West tournament title game, Nevada visiting New Mexico and Utah State visiting San Jose State. The Mountain West will look to increase the number of NCAA tournament bids from last season’s total of three, which could have been even lower had the Cowboys not earned the conference’s automatic bid.
Below are the single-game matchups for each of the teams in the Mountain West. In larger conferences with unbalanced schedules, those single games can have a significant impact on the title race if head-to-head tiebreakers are needed to determine a champion.
Air Force: vs. Boise State, at San Diego State Boise State: vs. Fresno State, at Air Force Colorado State: vs. New Mexico, at Fresno State Fresno State: vs. Colorado State, at Boise State Nevada: vs. San Diego State, at San Jose State New Mexico: vs. Wyoming, at Colorado State San Diego State: vs. Air Force, at Nevada San Jose State: vs. Nevada, at UNLV UNLV: vs. San Jose State, at Utah State Utah State: vs. UNLV, at Wyoming Wyoming: vs. Utah State, at New Mexico
The 6-foot-6 sophomore averaged 13.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures 43 times in 58 games with the Spartans. Muhammad will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2015-16 season per NCAA transfer rules.
San Jose State is coming of a 2-28 (0-18 Mountain West) season. The Spartans did not defeat a Division I opponent.
College basketball’s non-conference season is coming to a close, and to help you shake off post-holiday haze and the hangover of losing in your fantasy football playoffs, we’ll be providing you with some midseason primers to get you caught up on all the nation’s most important conferences.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Mountain West.
MIDSEASON MOUNTAIN WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR: J.J. Avila, Colorado State
Avila (14.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.2 apg) currently leads CSU in points and rebounds and is second on the team in assists. He’s ranked in the top ten in the Mountain West in each of those categories while also shooting 54.8% from the field. There have been a lot of good performers in the conference thus far, but his all-around impact wins Avila this designation.
THE ALL-MOUNTAIN WEST FIRST TEAM
Derrick Marks, Boise State: Averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, the senior guard is also shooting 52.3% from the field and 58.1% from beyond the arc.
Deshawn Delaney, New Mexico: Delaney (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg) ranks in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding, and he’s also shooting nearly 54 percent from the field.
Christian Wood, UNLV: Vaughn may be the team’s leading scorer, but Wood (14.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.2 bpg) is the lone player in the Mountain West averaging a double-double.
Larry Nance Jr., Wyoming: The preseason pick to win league POY is averaging 14.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 57 percent from the field.
THREE THINGS WE’VE LEARNED
1. Colorado State deserved more preseason respect than they received from many pundits. While some had a good idea of what Larry Eustachy’s transfer-laden group was capable of, they were picked to finish fifth in the preseason media poll (NBCSports.com picked them to finish second). Thus far it’s been thirteen up, thirteen down for the undefeated Rams who are off to the best start in school history. Seniors Daniel Bejarano and J.J. Avila have been good leaders for this group, and newcomers such as Gian Clavell, Stanton Kidd and John Gillon have contributed as well. The question now is whether or not this group can win the program’s first regular season conference title since 1990, and they’ve shown themselves capable of doing so in non-conference play.
2. San Diego State’s still searching for solutions offensively. While the focus of many has been the Aztecs’ struggles shooting the basketball, their issues on the offensive end of the floor begin with the caliber of shots they’re finding. Obviously accounting for the loss of Xavier Thames wasn’t going to be easy, but thus far the pick and roll game that was so successful last season hasn’t been as effective in 2014-15. What also hasn’t helped San Diego State are their health issues, with Dwayne Polee II now out of the lineup indefinitely and Aqeel Quinn, Matt Shrigley and Malik Pope all having missed time themselves (and Zylan Cheatham looking likely to redshirt). The good news for SDSU is that they still defend at a high level, and that will keep them in the Mountain West race.
3. Larry Nance Jr. is back to full strength for an entertaining Wyoming squad. Nance, who tore his ACL in mid-February, was the preseason pick to win Mountain West POY but there were questions as to whether or not he would hit the ground running for the Cowboys. Averaging 14.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game he’s been good and so have the Cowboys, who enter conference play with an 11-2 record. For too often people associate “entertaining” basketball with a high tempo, but Wyoming doesn’t run and with high-flyers Nance and Josh Adams they’re incredibly fun to watch. They’ve been more efficient on both ends of the floor than they were last season, and Wyoming also ranks fourth nationally in two-point field goal percentage (58.4%).
THREE STORY LINES TO FOLLOW
1. The growth of UNLV’s underclassmen. Freshman Rashad Vaughn and sophomore Christian Wood have played well for Dave Rice’s team, with Vaughn leading the Mountain West in scoring (18.1 ppg) and Wood (10.0) being the lone player in the league averaging double-digit rebounds per game. But they aren’t the only youngsters to keep an eye on in conference play, as freshmen Patrick McCaw and Jordan Cornish have also contributed. The growth of these players will determine just how well the Runnin’ Rebels finish in the Mountain West.
2. Anthony Drmic’s back and Derrick Marks’ production at Boise State. Drmic hasn’t played since Boise State’s win over Saint Mary’s on December 6 because of a back injury, but the Broncos are off to a 10-3 start thanks in large part to the play of Marks. Averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, Marks is playing the most consistent (and efficient) basketball of his Boise State career. Both missed Boise State’s 48-45 loss to Loyola (IL) two days before Christmas, with Marks nursing a sprained ankle. When will Drmic return? And can he and Marks lead the way for a group expected to contend once back on the court?
3. Will Cullen Neal be able to return for New Mexico? Neal suffered a badly sprained ankle during the Puerto Rico Tipoff in mid-November and hasn’t played since, with head coach Craig Neal (also his father for those who somehow didn’t know) stating that a medical redshirt was possible. Neal’s injury was one of many for the Lobos during non-conference play, but despite those personnel issues they went 8-4 thanks in large part to improved play on the defensive end. If Neal can’t return Hugh Greenwood, who was supposed to spend the majority of his time off the ball this season, runs the show and fellow senior Deshawn Delaney will need to continue to score as he has for most of non-conference play.
1. Colorado State will win the Mountain West. For as well as the Rams have played offensively, with the newcomers giving Avila and Bejarano the consistent help they didn’t have last season, there’s still room for growth defensively. Look for the Rams to get the job done and win their first regular season conference title in 25 years.
2. Utah State manages to finish .500 (or better) in league play. With Fresno State performing as they have (and Cezar Guerrero proving to be even more valuable than imagined in his absence), there’s room for a team picked to finish in the bottom half of the conference to make a run at a 9-9 (or better) league record. Give me the Aggies, with Jalen Moore (15.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) being the Mountain West’s most improved player and freshman David Collette (58.8% FG) averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
3. The Mountain West gets three NCAA tournament bids. Colorado State and, offensive struggles aside, San Diego State should hear their names called Selection Sunday. But who else gets in? Boise State, UNLV and Wyoming will all look to strengthen their respective cases in the next two-plus months, and it may come down to which team performs best in the conference tournament in Las Vegas.
NCAA: Colorado State, San Diego State, Wyoming
NIT: UNLV, New Mexico
OTHER/NO POSTSEASON: Boise State, Utah State, Air Force, Fresno State, Nevada, San Jose State (Spartans are ineligible for postseason play)
San Jose State was desperate for bodies for its Saturday night game against Seattle after head coach Dave Wojcik suspended five players indefinitely before the game, including the team’s four leading scorers.
According to Jimmy Durkin of the San Jose Mercury News, Wojcik suspended Rashad Muhammad, Jordan Baker, Frank Rogers, Jaleel Williams and Matt Pollard indefinitely. Durkin reports that the length of the suspension was not disclosed but the group is expected to be out until at least the Dec. 21 game at Washington State.
“I’m not going to put up with that,” Wojcik said of the suspensions in the post-game press conference Saturday night.
So to add players to the Spartan roster — which was already missing starting point guard Jalen Jones (season-ending ankle injury) and freshman center Leon Bahner (foot injury) — Wojcik turned to San Jose State football coach Ron Caragher for help this week.
Caragher and the football team were able to help as sophomore wide receiver Tyler Winston and redshirt freshman tight end Andrew Vollert both played Division I basketball for the first time during the Spartans’ Saturday night loss to Seattle.
Winston, an All-Mountain West second-team selection this season, played 21 minutes off the bench at guard and made a three-pointer on his way to four points. Vollert played 30 minutes as a reserve forward and had two points and two rebounds. Vollert also played the second most minutes on the team on Saturday.
The suspension of five players, four of them major contributors, has completely gutted a San Jose State program that is already 2-9 with no Division I wins on the season. For two football players to come up on the basketball team this week and earn major minutes despite never playing a college basketball game — and with limited practice time — says how desperate times are in San Jose right now.
Winston and Vollert’s status on the basketball team will be determined on a game-by-game basis, according to Durkin, and it doesn’t look like this season is going to turn around for the Spartans anytime soon.