Keith Dambrot

Akron, head coach Keith Dambrot agree to new ten-year deal

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In an announcement made on Friday by school president Dr. Luis M. Proenza and athletic director Tom Wistrcill, Akron and head coach Keith Dambrot have agreed to terms on a new ten-year contract.

Since the contract needs to be approved by the school’s Board of Trustees terms have not been released, but the contract is expected to go through the 2021-22 campaign.

Dambrot’s enjoyed a great deal of success in his eight seasons at Akron, posting a record of 184-87 and leading the Zips to seven straight 20-win seasons.

Akron is one of only 17 Division I programs to have such a streak, and they’re also one of just seven programs to average 22+ wins per season during that stretch.

Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Utah State are the other six.

“Keith is the best coach in the MAC and one of the top coaches in basketball,” Wistrcill said. “He has built the Zips into one of the top mid-major programs in the country and continues to lead his alma mater to new heights.

“This contract is not only a reward for his team’s performance over the past eight years, but a reflection of how the program continues to flourish. Our University and community are thrilled that he will continue to lead Zips basketball well into the future.”

Akron won their first regular season MAC title in six seasons last year, but fell to Ohio by a point (64-63) in the MAC tournament final.

The Zips do have to account for the loss of Nikola Cvetinovic and Bret McClanahan, but with senior center Zeke Marshall and every other key contributor due back Akron is more than capable of repeating as regular season champion.

In locking up the man responsible for the six postseason appearances in the last eight seasons, Akron has ensured that they’ll at the very least be a contender in the MAC for years to come.

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

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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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
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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?