Sagaba Konate out for CBI; West Virginia will apply for a medical redshirt for forward

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — Sagaba Konate will not be a game-time decision for any game West Virginia plays in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

Instead, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said the school will apply for a medical redshirt for the 6-foot-8 forward.

“I think we’re kind of concentrating on working him and then maybe getting a [medical] redshirt,” Huggins said Monday.

The Mountaineers (14-20) will host Grand Canyon (20-13), at 7 p.m. Wednesday, in the first round of the CBI.

West Virginia or Konate have yet to make any official statement on the forward’s status for next season, but this is an indicator Konate is leaning toward coming back next season.

In last week’s Big 12 tournament, program sources confirmed Konate was considered a game-time decision in the quarterfinal game against Texas Tech.

He practiced with the team during the public shootaround on Tuesday, prior to the first-round game against Oklahoma, but did not dress for that game. He did dress for the team’s games against Texas Tech and Kansas, but did not play in either game.

Konate declined interview requests during the Big 12 tournament.

In applying for a medical redshirt, West Virginia will submit Konate’s case at the end of the season to the Big 12, which would make a final ruling.

It is a similar process the Mountaineers went through with former standout guard Joe Mazzulla in 2009, after a growth-plate fracture in his right shoulder cost him most of his junior season.

To be eligible for a medical redshirt, a player must have suffered a season-ending injury and can not have participated in more than 30 percent of his team’s games.

Konate has played in eight games this season, or 23.5 percent heading into the CBI. If granted the medical redshirt, the forward would have two seasons of eligibility remaining.

Same rules

There are no experimental rules for the CBI this season, according to tournament officials.

In recent tournaments, Ray Cella of the Gazelle Group said the CBI experimented with a shorter shot clock and widening the lanes, as well as playing in four quarters instead of two halves.

“We tried those things a couple of years ago,” Cella said. “We’re back to playing games just like they are in the regular season.”

The CBI does re-bracket teams heading into the semifinals, which is different from any other Division I men’s basketball postseason tournament.

After the quarterfinals are complete, the Gazelle Group looks at the four remaining schools and considers different factors.

“It’s not as simple as simply saying No. 1, 2, 3 and 4,” Cella said. “You could have the No. 1 team not able to host the game, so we look at gym availability, as well as other determining factors before we announce the semifinal games.”

The two semifinal winners advance to the finals, which is a best two-of-three series, with both teams getting at least one home game.

Cram session

West Virginia’s first-round game against Grand Canyon is the Mountaineers’ first against a team from the Western Athletic Conference since 2016 and just the third one under Huggins.

Grand Canyon, located in Phoenix, didn’t become a Division I school until 2013, when it joined the WAC.

The Antelopes are making their second straight trip to the CBI after losing to New Mexico State in the WAC tournament finals for a second consecutive season.

Not having much history to draw from made for a late cram session Sunday, when the CBI brackets were announced at 9:30 p.m.

Assistant coach Ron Everhart, “Was in here Sunday night with our film people and did the scout,” Huggins said. “Everybody else started Monday morning. We’re all good.”

Former Phoenix Suns standout Dan Majerle has coached the Antelopes since they became a Division I school and he’s gone 123-71 over the last six seasons.

“Not great, but I know him,” Huggins said. “We’ve been together a few times.”

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