Paperwork issue results in three-game suspension for Xavier’s Isaiah Philmore

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As if a Xavier team that lacks depth needed any more bad news, the program received just that on Thursday afternoon.

6-8 junior forward Isaiah Philmore, who is entering his first season of eligibility at Xavier after playing two seasons at Towson, has been suspended for the first three games of the season due to what amounted to a paperwork oversight.

According to Xavier, Philmore did not complete a form that would have validated his amateur status before he played a single game at Towson.

The mistake wasn’t made until Xavier ran its checks once Philmore transferred, and even though this is a minor mistake by NCAA rules it results in Philmore missing 10% of the Musketeers’ games.

“It’s frustrating that three years after his initial enrollment, this penalty has to be served. But it wasn’t discovered until he got to Xavier, through the normal checking process,” athletic director Mike Bobinski said to Shannon Russell of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

As a sophomore at Towson, Philmore averaged 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest, numbers that led the Tigers in 2010-11.

As a result of the suspension Chris Mack will likely field a team with just seven scholarship players in games against FDU, Butler and Robert Morris.

And while much of the focus will be on that meeting with Butler, Robert Morris is expected to be a contender in the NEC so that won’t be an easy task either.

There’s also the case of Chris Cantino, who has been cleared by the NCAA to practice but not play in games.

“As the NCAA is sort of reviewing the situation – it’s a step-by-step process – it’s not finalized in terms of what he’ll ultimately be allowed to do. But he has been cleared to practice. He’s on scholarship. And that’s about all I know at this point,” coach Chris Mack said Friday before the season-opening practice.

There’s never a set timetable when it comes to how the NCAA goes about dealing with such issues, but there’s no doubt that Xavier needs to receive good news on Cantino in a hurry.

Photo credit: Xavier Athletics

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

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.