The preseason Top 50 for the Wooden Award will always be an imperfect list. Anything that precludes certain players – freshmen, transfers and medical redshirts aren’t eligible for the preseason 50, but can be added later – is destined to be mocked.
That automatically excluded two of last year’s five finalists – John Wall and Wesley Johnson – from consideration. This season, that means ignoring guys like Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving, among others.
Then there’s the 50 on the list. Some, like Arizona State’s Ty Abbott, don’t belong. Not when omissions include these guys:
- West Virginia’s Kevin Jones (after a breakout sophomore season, he’ll be the Mountaineers’ main man this year)
- Xavier’s Tu Holloway (point guard won’t have impressive stats, but he’s the leader and defensive stalwart for a Top 25 team)
- Georgetown’s Chris Wright (Austin Freeman gets most of the attention, but Wright’s the driving force for the Hoyas)
- Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried (averaged 17 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals last season; ask NBA scouts if he belongs on the list)
Those four are the biggest snubs. At least two will be on the midseason update, not to mention at least five freshmen. Revamp the rules!
Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.
Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.
On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.
One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.
As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).
And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.
While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.
And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.
St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.
Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.
St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.
The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?