Bruce Weber rounds out Kansas State staff with former Illinois assistant Wayne McClain, promotes assistant Chris Lowery

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First-year Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber has rounded out his Wildcat staff, hiring former Illinois assistant Wayne McClain as the director of student-athlete development, the school announced Wednesday.

McClain spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach with the Illini, including nine working for Weber.

“[McClain] is one of the most successful coaches in the history of Illinois basketball at both the high school and college levels,” Weber said in a statement.

“With a staff as young as ours, I wanted to add someone with significant knowledge and experience who would be a mentor to them as they grow in the profession.  He has also coached a lot of great players and will be a great resource for our players.”

McClain’s hiring was the first of two moves announced by the school Wednesday, as Weber also promoted assistant Chris Lowery to associate head coach.

Lowery, hired in April, was the first to join Weber’s staff at Kansas State. He came to the Wildcats after nine seasons as the head coach at Southern Illinois.

“We are very fortunate to have someone like Chris on staff,” Weber said.  “He has not only been a Division I head coach before, but also a very successful one.  It is very important to have someone like that on staff and essential to the players to have a veteran voice like his when I’m not around.  He has already been a huge asset to me as we build this program.”

Kansas State finished last season with an overall record of 22-11, including 10-8 in the Big 12. Head coach Frank Martin left Manhattan to take the same position at South Carolina, opening the door for Weber.

The Wildcats open their season on Nov. 9 against North Dakota.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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?