While you are probably focused on college football right now, you should still keep your ear to ground when it comes to news and notes from the world of college basketball as a new season of hoops will be here before you know it. Sometimes it is the small things that go unnoticed that end up having either a positive or negative impact on a particular team. This inside information could really come in handy when it comes to wagering on the games when the new season gets underway this November.
A perfect example of this is the playing status of Kansas State point guard Jevon Thomas. He was projected to take the place of Angel Rodriguez, who decided to transfer to Miami (FL), but was denied immediate eligibility after enrolling at the school this past January. This means Thomas will not be able to play until Dec. 21 when the Wildcats face Gonzaga. Look for Will Sprading to fill the point guard position to start the season and then move back to his normal shooting guard position once Thomas is in the lineup. Kansas State went 27-8 last season under Bruce Weber, who took over for Frank Martin as head coach.
Eli Carter started his college basketball career for Rutgers, but decided to transfer to Florida in the wake of the Mike Rice coaching scandal. He is the latest player to receive a special wavier from the NCAA that will make him eligible to play when the Gators open the season on Nov. 8 against North Florida. Carter is one of four key players to opt out of staying with the Scarlet Knights basketball program. Vincent Garrett will be playing for Green Bay this season and Mike Poole decided to transfer to Iona. One of the biggest losses to Rutgers’s lineup was the transfer of Derrick Randle. He will start the 2013/2014 season with the Pittsburgh Panthers in their first season as a member of the ACC.
The Illinois Fighting Illini basketball program took a hit the other day when the NCAA denied Ahmad Starks request for a hardship waiver to play this season. He played his first three seasons at Oregon State, but opted to transfer to Illinois to be closer to his ailing grandmother, who was a major influence on him growing up in the state. While this type of hardship waiver has been routinely granted to players who found themselves in similar situations, the NCAA took exception to the fact that Starks’ grandmother lived over 100 miles away from Champaign, where the school is located. The 5-foot-9 guard averaged 10.4 points a game for the Beavers last season which was fifth most on the team.
A couple of players with injury issues to keep an eye as we get closer to the start of the season are Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein and Michigan’s Mitch McGary. Stein injured his hand this past Friday during “basketball activity” with the team and could be sidelined for up to two weeks. He averaged 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds in relief of Nerlens Noel last season after Noel was lost for the season with a knee injury.
McGary has been dealing with an unspecified lower back injury that has kept him day-to-day in terms of practice for the past several weeks. He played a key role in the Wolverines’ run to the Final Four last season with 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds a game during the NCAA Tournament. With the loss of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. to the NBA, Coach John Beilein had been counting on McGary to play a much bigger role in the offense this year.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.