Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Ray Harper

European shooting guard not joining Western Kentucky program

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With four of their top five scorers from last season’s 20-win team having moved on, Western Kentucky enters in the 2015-16 season in need of options to step up alongside junior guard Chris Harrison-Docks. One possibility on the perimeter was guard Kristaps Gluditis, a native of the Czech Republic whose perimeter shooting ability was praised by head coach Ray Harper earlier this summer.

Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, Gluditis will not be with the team this season according to the Bowling Green Daily News. The reason is that Gluditis, who is eligible to compete by NCAA standards, did not meet the school’s academic standards for international students. In regards to college basketball Gluditis has three options at this point according to the report: retake the exam in hopes of joining the team midyear, enroll at a junior college or enroll at another four-year school since he’s cleared by the NCAA.

Without Gluditis additions such as grad student Aaron Cosby, junior college transfer Fredrick Edmond and freshmen Chris McNeal and Marlon Hunter Jr. have an even greater opportunity to earn minutes than they did when it was assumed that Giuditis would be joining the WKU program. Each of those players will need to step forward to relieve some of the pressure due to be heaped upon Harrison-Docks.

Harrison-Docks, who led the Hilltoppers in minutes per game (33.6 mpg) and started 30 of the team’s 32 games, averaged 11.1 points per contest in 2014-15. After Harrison-Docks WKU’s most productive returnee is junior forward Ben Lawson, who averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

Former Tennessee forward transferring to Western Kentucky

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Another of the players who transferred from Tennessee in the aftermath of a coaching change from Donnie Tyndall to Rick Barnes has found a new school to call home.

Willie Carmichael III, who started 19 games as a freshman, announced on social media that he’s decided to transfer to Western Kentucky. Carmichael averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman, and his best game of the 2014-15 season came in a late November win over Texas Southern.

Carmichael accounted for ten points and seven rebounds in that game, the lone contest in which he managed to score in double figures. Both numbers represented season highs for Carmichael, who also blocked two shots in the victory. After sitting out the 2015-16 season Carmichael will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

Carmichael joins a front court that will lose just one player at the end of the 2015-16 season in rising senior Aleksejs Rostov. Among the front court players who will have eligibility remaining when Carmichael’s able to suit up are rising junior Ben Lawson, junior college transfers Anton Waters and Phabian Glasco, sophomore Justin Johnson and freshman Nathan Smith.

Carmichael’s the second Division I transfer to join Ray Harper’s program this spring, with Aaron Cosby making the move from Illinois. As a graduate student Cosby, who began his career at Seton Hall, will be eligible to play immediately.

h/t Bowling Green Daily News

Former Western Kentucky forward will play college football next season

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 27: George Fant #44 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers celebrates after a basket over Javon Baumann #34 of the Saint Joseph's Hawks in the second half at Madison Square Garden on November 27, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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George Fant exhausted his college basketball eligibility at Western Kentucky after a very productive four-year career that included all-conference honors in his final three seasons. Now the 6-foot-6, 250-pound forward will attempt to transition to football, as basketball coach Ray Harper told the Bowling Green Daily News that Fant will try his hand on the gridiron for the Hilltoppers.

“You will still have the opportunity to see him on the Hill as he’s going to play football next year,” Harper said in the report. “We are desperately going to miss big George.”

Fant averaged 13.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game during his senior season at Western Kentucky and he was a second-team All-Conference USA selection. He hasn’t played organized football since the eighth grade but he’ll get one season of college football eligibility after exhausting four in another sport.

Tight end will be the likely position for Fant on the gridiron and that’s often the position that basketball players transition to if they try their hand at football.