St. John’s junior wing Marco Bourgault has been cleared to play

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St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin will have one more player at his disposal today when the Red Storm take on Murray State in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic on Friday, as junior wing Marco Bourgault has been ruled eligible by the NCAA.

The news was first reported by The Torch, which is the student newspaper at St. John’s, and Bourgault was reportedly in class when he received the good news.

A student at St. John’s gave a first hand account of what he saw transpire in his Tuesday morning class in Sullivan Hall around 10:50 am.

“He raised his hand during class, stated he had been cleared and that he needed to leave immediately,” the student said. “He said he needed to get to South Carolina.”

Bourgault being cleared pushes the number of available scholarship players for the Red Storm to nine, with the staff looking to redshirt senior power forward God’sgift Achiuwa and still awaiting word on the status of forward Orlando Sanchez.

Texas A&M transfer Jamal Branch will become eligible for game action at the end of the fall semester.

Bourgault and Sanchez both attended Monroe College (NY) last season, with the Saint-Malo, France native averaging 10.8 points per game. Bourgault is a very good perimeter shooter as he knocked down 42% of his shots from deep at Monroe in 2011-12. And he’ll fit in with the Red Storm given the number of slashers at Lavin’s disposal.

The match-up with Murray State isn’t scheduled to tip until 5:30 PM EST, and according to Marc Raimondi of the New York Post Bourgault is expected to arrive in Charleston at around 4 PM EST.

Photo credit: St. John’s University

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Knee injury temporarily sidelines Memphis assistant

Toronto Raptors vs Charlotte Hornets
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With practices beginning this weekend, not only are players looking to avoid the injury bug but their coaches are as well. And in the case of Memphis, the Tigers won’t have one of their assistants on the court for a little while due to a knee injury.

Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire, who returned to Josh Pastner’s staff this summer after a two-year stint at Arizona, suffered the injury during a recent workout according to L. Jason Smith of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. And Stoudamire will require surgery, which will put him on the shelf for a little bit.

“He was working out himself and I think he thought he was in his rookie year,” Pastner said. “We think he’s got a torn meniscus, which will require surgery and put him out for a couple of days.”

Stoudamire isn’t the only assistant coach working through pain either. Syracuse’s Mike Hopkins, who is also Jim Boeheim’s heir apparent as head coach, suffered a neck injury body surfing during a family vacation last month. Hopkins spent some time in a neck brace while putting players through workouts as a result of the injury.

As for the Tigers, they’ll have a mixture of experience on the perimeter and youth in the front court as they look to get back to the NCAA tournament after missing out last season. Among the newcomers are talented forwards Dedric and K.J. Lawson, with experienced guards such as Kedren Johnson, Trahson Burrell and Ricky Tarrant (grad transfer from Alabama) expected to be key contributors on the perimeter.

Duke figuring out approach for this season

Duke University head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski speaks with the media about the Blue Devils' 2013-14 basketball season, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Durham, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
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Duke is coming off of a national championship but the roster will look almost completely different for the 2015-16 season. That means last season’s approach to things on the offensive and defensive end will have to change and head coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned to reporters on Friday how the Blue Devils are still figuring some things out.

“We’re putting in a different offensive system, to personalize it for these guys,” Krzyzewski said to reporters. “And a different defensive system so that we can max out on the talents that they have.

“We’re really proud of our team. I think we’re going to be a really good team.”

Without Jahlil Okafor in the middle, Duke’s offense could shift to a mostly perimeter-oriented team, as the wing and guard depth is superior for this year’s group.  Coach K and his staff making adjustments to schemes to fit personnel is a nice move from the Hall of Famer, as he’s done a better job in recent years of making adjustments like this after his stint with USA Basketball.

As the program moves on from Okafor, Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow and Quinn Cook, it’ll be intriguing to see who emerges as a potential go-to offensive player early in the season and how Duke’s offense potentially evolves as the season wears on.