God (Shammgod) is Ed Cooley’s Co-Pilot

Leave a comment

“Ray, when someone asks if you’re a god, you say YES!”

With all due respect to Ghostbusters, some teams don’t just need a god, they need God with a capital “G”. Providence College, picked by most pundits to come in dead last in the Big East, has called in the big guns. God Shammgod, who ran the point for the Friars in the mid-1990s before embarking on a lengthy professional career both foreign and domestic, was recently hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater.

Shammgod spent part of his summer teaching basketball clinics for area youth, sharing the secrets of a wicked crossover along with a super-serious message to stay in school and get a solid education. It’s something he knows plenty about; his role on the PC bench is “Undergraduate Student Assistant Coach” because Shammgod is learning and teaching at the same time.

The Providence Journal spells it out:

At 35, Shammgod has walked a long road since he left Providence College as a 19-year-old sophomore point guard to go to the NBA. That road has led him right back to Rhode Island.

Shammgod didn’t finish college after he left PC, but now he is again a student there, and has found a new family in coach Ed Cooley and all the folks who run the basketball and sports programs. He is studying education, hoping to be a basketball coach, and getting pointers from Cooley and other mentors.

Of course, this is all well and good. I’m happy Shammgod is back to finish his abandoned degree. But my interest in him transcends his basketball exploits. Before Troy Machir and I combined our #AllNameTeam efforts this season, I used to publish my own list of great monikers, awarding the God Shammgod Trophy to the player with the best combination of name and stats. No name-obssessed writer can resist lines like this one, which appears in Shammgod’s official bio:

“After his NBA career, God played in the Chinese Basketball Association for several teams, including the Zhejian Cyclones and Shanxi Yujun. He has played professionally in several countries, including Poland and Saudi Arabia.”

Welcome back to college hoops, God.

(Gigantic h/t to @BFoley82 of College Baseball Daily)

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?