Denzel Valentine, Matt Costello, Gary Harris, Kenny Kaminski

Spartans Kenny Kaminski, Matt Costello honor fallen teammate

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Kenny Kaminski is a big-bodied, sharp-shooting freshman at Michigan State this season.

Unfortunately, for him, Kaminski has a bum shoulder, one that kept him out during his senior season in high school and cost him the past three months after he tore a labrum.

And while the progress Kaminski has made in his recovery has allowed him to start shooting the ball again, there’s still a chance the he ends up redshirting this season. Would it be worth wasting a year’s worth of eligibility for a guy that’s not 100% and will be playing behind Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix?

Given those facts, it should make you curious when publishes an extensive feature on Kaminski and why he chose the No. 30. Grab a tissue before you read it:

3 and nobody else.

That’s who Michigan State forward Kenny Kaminski had on his mind when at the start of his college career he selected the No. 30 to wear on his chest in memory of a fallen friend.

No. 3 was Dorian Dawkins, who collapsed during a high school game on the Michigan State campus three summers ago and died, a heart defect cutting short a dream at age 14.

As AAU teammates, Dawkins, Kaminski and Matt Costello fantasized about one day playing for the Spartans together. Three years later, as Costello and Kaminski arrived in East Lansing as roommates and a part of Tom Izzo’s recruiting class, they did so with Dawkins with them in spirit.

“He’s always here in my heart,” Kaminski said. “I’m always thinking about him.
“He’s always going to be there and nobody else. 3 and nobody.”

It’s a sad story, but it’s one worth reading and knowing about.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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?