Brittney Griner

Brittney Griner unanimous selection for AP preseason All-American

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Brittney Griner headlined the Associated Press women’s preseason All-American team, announced Tuesday afternoon, following a junior season that ended with a national championship.

The second unanimous selection for Griner only adds to her accolades in her impressive career. The Baylor center becomes only the third player in the history of women’s basketball, along with UConn’s Maya Moore and Duke’s Alana Beard, to be a unanimous preseason selection twice.

Griner is part of a preseason All-American team that features Delaware forward senior Elena Delle Donne, Notre Dame senior forward Skylar Diggins, Stanford junior forward Chiney Ogwumike, Maryland junior Alyssa Thomas, and Griner’s teammate,  Odyssey Sims.

Delle Donne and Diggins were both unanimous selections along with Griner. Thomas and Sims tied with 19 votes for the final spot. It’s the first time that has ever happened.

Griner, along with Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, last season made college basketball all about the centers. Griner keeps that theme going this year, returning for her senior season. However this year her male counterpart will be Indiana’s Cody Zeller, who was named the preseason player of the year and was one vote away from a unanimous selection for the AP preseason All-American team.

The Baylor senior will likely to continue her playing career in the southwest following graduation, as the Phoenix Mercury hold the top pick in 2013 WNBA Draft.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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?