Sports Notebook: Big 12 basketball report, prized Texas Tech football recruit dismissed after assault charges

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Photo by Emily DeShazer | The Collegian K-State men's basketball coach Bruce Weber knows this year's basketball season will still be competitive even though many Big 12 players recently joined NBA teams.

After seeing seven teams from the Big 12 enter the NCAA Tournament last season, K-State men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber said he doesn’t have many doubts about the capability of the conference.

“Texas pretty much has its entire team coming back, plus a team like Iowa State has nearly everybody back,” Weber said in the mid-June Big 12 coaches’ teleconference. “I do not know if it is better, but it will be very competitive just like we were last year and maybe a little bit more seasoned. Like a Texas team, who is one year older, Oklahoma is another year older — they both had a lot of young guys. Hopefully, we are a year older and hopefully can make a longer run into the NCAA Tournament. “

With the additions of junior transfer Brandon Bolden and senior signee Stephen Hurt, K-State’s depth in the paint will take a step in the right direction.

“Brandon gets a lot of reps and a lot of attention,” Weber said. “Like I said, he has gone much harder; because of the competition he has no choice. Stephen Hurt is a big body and he is tall. Nino [Williams] plays hard all the time. He is a little undersized, but he plays hard. That competition — that pushing each other — has definitely helped Brandon.”

Weber said the health of these players continues to progress following some offseason surgeries, but neither D.J. Johnson or Thomas Gipson will practice until school resumes in August.

After sitting out last season because of his transfer from Maine, the Wildcats gain the services of guard Justin Edwards as well.

Weber said the redshirt junior’s game continues to evolve in more aspects than they had been expecting.

“He can shoot the three ball very well, which has been, I think, our surprise,” Weber said.” He made some threes at Maine, but that was not his main role; it was dunking on people and getting out on transition. He has really worked on his shooting this year. Even with him, there is competition with Wesley (Iwundu), Marcus (Foster) and Tre (Harris). You have to play every day, and if you do not, someone else will be out to beat you.”

Bethel II dismissed from Texas Tech football

What Nigel Bethel II had hoped would be an extended playing career at Texas Tech came to an abrupt halt on Sunday.

The four-star recruit was quickly dismissed from the team after punching Amber Battle, a member of the Texas Tech women’s basketball team, in the face.

Bethel faces felony assault charges for what the Texas Tech Police Department called “serious bodily injuries” in Monday’s report.

According to the Lubbock-Avalanche Journal, Battle – who was the team’s leading scorer last season with 16.4 points per game – suffered a broken bone in her face.

The swift choice to relieve Bethel from his playing duties at the university sets a strong standard against the actions of the freshman.

“Texas Tech Athletics has a zero tolerance policy on this behavior,” read the statement issued by the university on Sunday.

With Bethel being a highly regarded recruit, the news puts a damper on the upcoming Red Raiders’ football season.

According to ESPN.com’s Top 300 recruiting rankings, the Miami native was Texas Tech’s highest rated recruit for the upcoming season.

In the Rivals.com Top 50 rankings for Florida in the 2014 class, Bethel ranked 44th. The website also lists a number of his college choices as West Virginia, Utah, Florida State, Miami and Cincinnati.

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