Jay Wright

Could Jay Wright start true freshman Ryan Arcidiacono at point guard for Villanova?

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With the losses that coach Jay Wright and Villanova have suffered in the backcourt, is it plausible that true freshman Ryan Arcidiacono could be handed the reins to begin the 2012-13 season?

CBS Sports analyst Jon Rothstein thinks so, as he tweeted this week.

Arcidiacono, a 6-3, 185-pound local product, missed much of last season with injury, but with Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek leaving to go pro after last season, Arcidiacono seems to be the next in line.

Aside from the plain fact that starting a true freshman in a conference like the Big East can be difficult, Arcidiacono as a wide range of skills that could help him in his first year.

As a passer, he has tremendous court vision and has a knack for finding teammates in a position to score. Not only can he find teammates, but he can create for himself and step out beyond the three-point line and make shots with consistency.

Without Wayns and Cheek, the Wildcats lose out on close to 30 points of scoring per game, just under half of their total scoring output per game last season.

Expectations aren’t high for Villanova this season, having been picked to finish 12th in the conference by Big East coaches this week, so inserting Arcidiacono and allowing him to develop with in-game experience could be the best bet for Wright and the Wildcats.

But, don’t discount Tony Chennault, the Wake Forest transfer who was ruled eligible to play immediately at Villanova. If he doesn’t compete for and perhaps get the starting job, he’ll be key as a complementary piece.

They begin their season on Nov. 9 against District of Columbia.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, 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?