Norvel Pelle has committed to Iona

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Former St. John’s signee Norvel Pelle has committed to Iona to play his college basketball for the Gaels, a source confirmed to Daniel Martin of NBCSports.com. Jon Rothstein broke the news on twitter on Tuesday evening.

Pelle is enrolling at Iona now, and if he gets eligible for this season (which is still a major ‘if’ at this point — keep in mind that he wasn’t cleared to play for the Johnnies), Iona looks like the clear favorite to win the MAAC.

Keep in mind, this is a kid that would have been one of the stars of the Class of 2011 for St. John’s, a class that included Maurice Harkless and D’Angelo Harrison. He’s a legitimate top 50 talent, something that doesn’t show up in the MAAC all that often. Programs like UNLV, Washington and San Diego State were all after Pelle this offseason.

Once David Laury, a Western Kentucky transfer, gets eligible in January, Iona could trot out a lineup that includes Momo Jones, Sean Armand, Curtis Dennis, Laury and Pelle. That’s a lot of talent.

(Reporting for this post was done by Daniel Martin.)

(Photo credit: USABasketball.com)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

Cliff Ellis
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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

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Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.