Providence isn’t exactly expected to set the Big East on fire this season — the Friars were chosen to finish dead last in the league’s preseason poll — but nobody really thought they were in danger from the Great West.
The Friars barely survived against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, however, winning 64-63 on Saturday afternoon after Highlander P.J. Miller missed a desperation three at the buzzer. Had Miller kept his head and worked for the two-point shot, things may have gone very differently.
PC won the game, but suffered a loss that may turn today’s contest into a pyhrric victory. Vincent Council — the senior guard expected to be a bright spot for the Friars — went down just five minutes into his first game this year. Council had scored two points from made free throws after shooting 0-3 from the floor before his day took a turn for the worse.
The Providence Journal provided details on how the injury occurred:
With 15:18 to play in the first half, Council was over midcourt and passed the ball when he seemed to have his legs split from under him. He crumpled to the floor in obvious pain and was helped to the bench and then the PC locker room.
His injury is initially being diagnosed as a hamstring issue. He is done for the day and will be evaluated.later but his status for Monday’s game against Bryant is certainly in doubt.
Council returned to the bench in sweat pants and confirmed that he had suffered a hamstring injury. He watched helplessly as teammate Bryce Cotton hit one of two free throws with five seconds left and the game tied. With three full seconds left on the clock, NJIT’s Miller took the errant shot that ended the game. Ladontae Henton (pictured) led the Friars with 24 points in the close win.
Honestly? Providence isn’t too scary even with Council, but a lingering hamstring injury suffered in the first game is the worst way for a senior year to get started, and it won’t help Ed Cooley’s Friars find a much-needed cohesive identity, either.
Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.
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 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?