VCU picks up another guard in St. Benedict’s Melvin Johnson

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VCU was already due to enter their first season of play in the Atlantic 10 with a great deal of depth on the perimeter.

Shaka Smart’s Rams became even deeper on the perimeter on Friday as Melvin Johnson, formerly a Miami signee, committed to the program.

Johnson, a 6-3 guard from the Bronx, fits into the Rams’ “Havoc” system perfectly.

He’s a quick guard who can get to the basket off the dribble while also being able to knock down perimeter shots, and is also athletic enough to guard multiple positions on the perimeter. .

According to Adam Zagoria of Johnson was released from his letter of intent by Miami over an issue with his test scores, but St. Benedict’s head coach Mark Taylor told Zagoria that Johnson is “fully qualified.”

In an article in the New York Post on the day Johnson was released by Miami, Johnson’s mother told the Post that he has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

The Rams went 29-7 (15-3 CAA) last season, falling to Indiana in the round of 32.

VCU made the immediate move to the Atlantic 10 due to a CAA rule prohibiting departing members from winning the league’s automatic NCAA bid.

And just like Butler, who moves from the Horizon League to the A-10, the Rams will be equipped to compete immediately in regards to both their depth and talent.

On the perimeter Johnson joins the likes of Rob Brandenburg, Troy Daniels, Treveon Graham and Darius Theus.

VCU does have to account for the graduation of the versatile Bradford Burgess, but with all of their other key contributors back Coach Smart’s “Havoc” system is more than capable of turning heads in the new league.

Johnson joins Mo Alie-Cox, Jordan Burgess and Justin Tuoyo in the Rams’ 2012 class, with Burgess (Bradford’s little brother) being another possible contributor on the perimeter.

Photo credit: An Rong Xu

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

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.