Under Cliff Ellis, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have become a good team. Which is a nice thing to be, but in a one-bid conference, it’s less than satisfying. The goal is to not only win the Big South regular season crown, but carry momentum into the league tournament, earning the Chanticleers their first bid to the Big Dance since 1993.
CCU was attempting to get a leg over the wall in the upcoming season by blending experienced players with new recruits, allowing the backups to learn the ropes while the veterans shouldered the load. At a mid-major, the balance is delicate, and injuries hit harder than they might elsewhere. The Chanticleers will attempt to overcome just such an infusion of bad luck after finding out that freshman point guard Ronald Trapps injured his leg — literally almost as soon as he set foot on campus — and will be forced to sit out his understudy season.
From the Conway, S.C. Sun News:
Trapps had successful surgery Thursday to repair what coach Cliff Ellis termed a “torn patella” that will sideline the newcomer from Lancaster, S.C., for the duration of the season.
“Very unfortunate for him,” Ellis said. “He hurt it playing pickup, I think, the first day that they were all here. His knee just buckled.”
Trapps, who spent last season at Fork Union Military Academy, is one of seven newcomers on the roster this year and was expected to be groomed behind veteran starting point guard Kierre Greenwood in preparation for a larger role in years to come.
“He’s a guy that we wanted to groom with Kierre, but we’re just going to have to wait,” Ellis said. “It definitely was a blow to him. Nobody likes that kind of thing, but he knows there’s nothing he can do about it. It’s just part of the game, part of life. You just have to deal with it.”
In the Big South, the reward for a great season is a shot at the league tournament crown. Run that gauntlet, and you earn yourself a 16-seed more often than not. Booby prize though it may be, we’re certain Cliff Ellis and his Chanticleers would happily take it if they can get through this season without any more injury setbacks.
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?