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VIDEO: Rice surprises walk-on with scholarship while on trip to Spain

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Addison Owen went all the way to Spain to see the world and play basketball with his Rice teammates. He also received some great news.

Owen, a junior walk-on from Atlanta, was surprised by Owls coach Scott Pera with a scholarship Friday in a surprise announcement with the team on its foreign trip in Spain.

Credit for Pera to milking some drama and intrigue out of the situation, but even more kudos for giving an available scholarship to a two-time Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Rollee.

Rice grad-transfer Connor Cashaw headed to Creighton

Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images
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Creighton found some reinforcements after losing much of its backcourt punch this offseason.

Connor Cashaw, a  graduate transfer from Rice, will join the Bluejays this season, according to multiple reports.

The 6-foot-5 guard averaged 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 39.8 percent from the floor and 31.9 percent from 3-point range. As a grad-transfer, he’ll be immediately eligible and be able to help Creighton fill the void of Marcus Foster’s graduation and Khyri Thomas’ decision to turn pro early. That pair averaged 34.9 points per game last season while being the Bluejays’ primary playmakers. Foster was a first-team all-Big East selection while Thomas was a second-teamer. 

In addition to a scoring burst and help on the boards, Cashaw will bring a load of experience as a veteran of 93 career games, only nine of which he did not start, over three years with the Owls, who went 7-24 last season, to a Creighton team that is otherwise short on experience in the backcourt. He will have one final year of eligibility remaining.

The Bluejays are coming off a season in which they went 21-12 overall and 10-8 in the Big East en route to an eight-seed in the NCAA tournament, where Kansas State, an eventual Elite 8 participant, knocked them out in the first round.

Rice adds three-star point guard in Class of 2016

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Rice continues to add talent under head coach Mike Rhoades as three-star point guard Ako Adams committed in the Class of 2016. With three three-star prospects in 2015 and two talented commitments in 2016, the Owls are getting a fair amount of talent into the program and could be in very good shape if things go properly in a few years.

The 6-foot-2 Adams hails from Arlington, Virginia and attends Bishop O’Connell High School. Joining Adams in the Class of 2016 is four-star shooting guard Josh Hall. The 2015 class for Rice also has pledges from three-star prospects in guard Marcus Evans and shooting guard Connor Cashaw.

So the program has a lot of backcourt depth coming in the next two classes and it can help Rhoades use a number of lineups and backcourt combinations.

Reserve freshman forward leaves Rice program

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In his first season as a member of the Rice program, 6-foot-6 freshman forward Maurice Rivers played in 11 games with averages of 3.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 17.8 minutes per contest. Prior to the team’s game against North Texas on Saturday, it was announced by the program that Rivers is no longer a member of the program and has been released from his scholarship.

“We wish Maurice and his family all the best as he moves forward,” first-year head coach Mike Rhoades said according to the program’s Twitter account.

The announcement of Rivers’ departure came six days after he played a season-high 30 minutes in the Owls’ 66-57 home loss to UTEP, a game in which he tallied two points, two rebounds and two blocked shots. With Rivers no longer a member of the team, Rice stayed with an eight-man rotation in their 66-63 home loss to North Texas.

Freshman Jeremy Jones, who’s played an average of 5.7 minutes in six games, played a season-high ten minutes and that may be the case for him moving forward as the Owls look to account for the departure of Rivers.

Rice’s Marcus Jackson makes a shot from the opposite free-throw line to beat first-half buzzer (VIDEO)

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Rice guard Marcus Jackson is having a really nice season for the Owls in his sophomore year. On Saturday, in a Conference USA matchup with North Texas, Jackson heaved a shot from between the opposite free-throw line and 3-point line and banked in an incredible shot at the first-half buzzer.

Jackson finished with a team-high 22 points but the Owls ultimately fell to the Mean Green 66-63.

2014-2015 Season Preview: Louisiana Tech the favorite in the ever-changing Conference USA

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source:
AP

Beginning on October 3rd and running up until November 14th, the first day of the season, College Basketball Talk will be unveiling the 2014-2015 NBCSports.com college hoops preview package.

MORE: 2014-2015 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Conference realignment has been rampant the last few seasons, and Conference USA is still feeling the effects of it heading into the 2014-2015 season. Gone are East Carolina, Tulane and the league’s lone NCAA tournament team from last year, Tulsa. The conference welcomes in Western Kentucky as its newest member. If you’re scoring at home, that’s nine new programs and seven former members since 2013.

At least one thing looks to remain certain in 2014-2015, Louisiana Tech should finish atop the conference standings. The Bulldogs were one of four teams — Tulsa, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss — to share the regular season title with a 13-3 record. Like previously mentioned, Tulsa left C-USA, Middle Tennessee lost four starters and Souther Miss is starting the Doc Sadler era after Donnie Tyndall accepted the Tennessee position.

Louisiana Tech returns plenty of key contributors, but none more important than head coach Michael White, who was in the conversation for several coaching vacancies this offseason.

The Bulldogs boast the league’s top back court with Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith running the show, Alex Hamilton back as the team’s top scorer and Raheem Appleby, who was sidelined for several weeks last season with an ankle injury. Michale Kyser mans the frontline with his 3.0 blocks per game, and he’ll be an important piece this season, as the Bulldogs’ biggest threat, UTEP, has two talented forwards.

The Miners may have finished fifth last season, but was only a game out of first in the top-heavy C-USA. Tim Floyd’s team is headlined by sophomore Vince Hunter and (12.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Julian Washburn (13.1 ppg). Another team looking to make a run at the Bulldogs is newcomer, Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers join the league from the Sun Belt, and have been to two of the last three NCAA tournaments. Ray Harper’s team is aided by senior guards T.J. Price and George Fant — the team’s top two scorers at 15.5 points and 13.3 points, respectively –who will help with the transition against better competition.

Along with Harper, C-USA has three new coaches. Mike Rhoades came over from VCU to take over at Rice while Michael Curry (Florida Atlantic) and Dan D’Antoni (Marshall) join the conference from the NBA sidelines, despite neither of them having college basketball coaching experience.

REALIGNMENT MOVES

In: Western Kentucky
Out: East Carolina, Tulane, Tulsa

PRESEASON CONFERENCE-USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kenneth ‘Speedy’ Smith, Louisiana Tech

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged single-digits (7.8 ppg) last year, but he effected the game in so many other ways. He was second in the nation in assists (7.7 apg), was 10th in the nation with a 3.23 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he was also top 10 in the nation in steals at 2.5 per game. The senior guard was named Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and is the only returning member of the league’s first-team from a season ago.

THE REST OF THE PRESEASON CONFERENCE-USA TEAM:

  • Alex Hamilton, Louisiana Tech: Another member of Louisiana Tech’s heralded back court. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged a team-high 14.5 points per game last season.
  • Pierria Henry, Charlotte: The 49ers top scorer from a season ago averaged 12.3 points, grabbed 5.1 boards and dished 5.8 assists per game.
  • Vince Hunter, UTEP: Hunter is coming off a great freshman campaign, averaging 12.5 points and 6.4 boards per game. Part of a talented front court duo with Julian Washburn.
  • T.J. Price, Western Kentucky: One of the top newcomers to the league averaged better than 15 points per game over the past two years in the Sun Belt.

ONE TWITTER FEED TO FOLLOW: @Conference_USA

PREDICTED FINISH

1. Louisiana Tech
2. UTEP
3. Western Kentucky
4. Old Dominon
5. Charlotte
6. Middle Tennessee
7. North Texas
8. UAB
9. Southern Miss
10. Florida International
11. Rice
12. Florida Atlantic
13. UTSA
14. Marshall