Oregon State v Washington - Quarterfinals

Early Entry Breakdowns: Under the radar picks

Leave a comment

Read through the rest of our Early Entry breakdowns here.

G J’Covan Brown (Texas): Brown is a household name for many given the fact that he was the leading scorer as a junior at Texas. But with many projections placing him at the back end of the second round, he could end up being a pick that provides more value than expected. Brown averaged 20.1 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, both significant improvements from 2010-11. And while his decision-making could still use some refinement, Brown’s assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) and turnover percentage (16.0%) in 2011-12 were the best of his career in Austin.

G Jared Cunningham (Oregon State): First-round athleticism but Draft Express has Cunningham slotted into the early part of the second round. That likely means that Cunningham is a player who could work his way into the first round with good workouts, provided he display the ability to consistently knock down perimeter shots. Cunningham shot just 33.8% from three as a junior and 34.4% for his career in Corvallis, but his scoring (17.9), rebounding (3.8) and assist (2.8) averages in 2011-12 were all career highs.

F Moe Harkless (St. John’s): With more names entering the draft Harkless slipped from teetering on the edge of the lottery to the latter stages of the first round. That may be a bit low for a guy who along with D’Angelo Harrison carried much of the offensive load for the Red Storm in 2011-12. And while the Big East Rookie of the Year didn’t experience a great amount of success in the wins department, Harkless’ versatility was evident on a nightly basis. And Harkless did this while playing at the ‘4’ on most nights; more freedom to roam at the next level could pay off for whichever team selects him.

F Hollis Thompson (Georgetown): Thompson improved both his scoring (12.8) and rebounding (5.5) numbers as a junior, but it feels like he left Georgetown without realizing his ceiling in college. At 6-8, the Los Angeles native is capable of being a match-up problem on the wing, shooting 47.7% from the field and 43.9% from three in three seasons. Thompson didn’t take too many shots at attacking foes off the dribble in college, and if he can show in workouts that he’s capable of doing so at the pro level Thompson could rise up draft boards.

F Royce White (Iowa State): White had an outstanding season at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2005. But pro drafts tend to also mean the digging up of past foibles (“red flags”), which could lead to a drop in his stock. And while there is a need for teams to do their due diligence that would prove to be a mistake with White. If teams were to use this as an excuse to drop White out of the first round, someone’s going to end up with a steal early in the second.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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 cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
Leave a comment

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?