Sun Belt

Texas-Arlington's Kevin Hervey, left, reacts to a 73-68 NCAA college basketball game win as Ohio State's Jae'Sean Tate looks on  in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
AP Photo/Paul Vernon

UT Arlington loses leading scorer, rebounder to torn ACL

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For the second straight season UT Arlington head coach Scott Cross will have to deal with his most productive player being lost for the season due to injury.

Friday afternoon the school announced that sophomore forward Kevin Hervey will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, with the injury being suffered just before the Mavericks’ win over Arkansas State Thursday night. Hervey currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 18.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, so it goes without saying that this is a big hit for UT Arlington to take.

Without Hervey Thursday night the Mavericks started four guards in a 91-64 win over Arkansas State. Jorge Bilbao, the lone starting front court player, finished with 11 points, ten rebounds and seven assists. 6-foot-7 guard Nathan Hawkins and 6-foot-7 forward Faith Pope combined to play 26 minutes in the win, contributing a total of six points and three rebounds with Pope responsible for all three boards.

Chipping in on the glass were Kennedy Eubanks and Kaelon Wilson, with the former grabbing a team-high 11 boards and Wilson adding ten. They’ll have to continue to help on the glass moving forward with the team’s best rebounder lost for the season. Next up for UT Arlington is another Sun Belt team that made waves in non-conference play in Little Rock, which at 6-1 in league play is a half-game ahead of the 5-1 Mavericks atop the league standings.

Last season, UT Arlington lost Johnny Hill to a season-ending injury. Hill is using his final season of college eligibility at Purdue.

Coastal Carolina moving to Sun Belt

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Coming off back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in men’s basketball, Coastal Carolina will move all sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, to the Sun Belt beginning with the 2016-17 academic year, the conference announced on Tuesday.

The football team, formed in 2003, will remain in the FCS level for the 2016 season before elevating to the Sun Belt in 2017.

With the addition of Coastal Carolina, the Sun Belt becomes a 12-team basketball league in 2016-17. There is talk of Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson creating two separate divisions to split the conference, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

This is a good move for Coastal Carolina’s basketball program, which has shown great consistency with five postseason appearances over the last six seasons. Now they get to play in a stronger basketball league that includes Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, UL-Monroe and Georgia Southern all coming off of strong seasons. The Sun Belt has also produced some recent NBA players in R.J. Hunter and Elfrid Payton, so some of the best talent in the country has come from the league the last few seasons.

The Sun Belt also adds some depth in basketball with this move and it gives them a program who has sustained some recent success under head coach Cliff Ellis. Coastal Carolina moves from the Big South, where they finished 24-10 overall and 12-6 in league play before winning the Big South tournament title.

Louisiana-Lafayette adds transfer guard from BYU

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source: Getty Images
(Getty Images)

Former BYU guard Frank Bartley IV will continue his college basketball career at Louisiana-Lafayette, the school announced in a release. The 6-foot-3 guard will have to sit out the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules, but has two years of eligibility remaining after.

“Frank is a young man that we recruited out of high school and is a strong, athletic player that can get to the basket,” Marlin said. “He had a great (high school) career at Christian Life Academy and played a vital part in the success the last two years at BYU. He comes from a great family and he wanted an opportunity to come back home. We’re excited that he has enrolled at UL and will join our team.”

The commitment to the Ragin’ Cajuns means that Bartley will follow in the footsteps of his father, Frank Bartley III. The elder Bartley was an all-conference football player at the school.

During his sophomore season at BYU, Bartley IV averaged 2.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. In the Sun Belt, Bartley could be more of an impact player, especially after sitting out an additional season and working on his game.