Barclays Center Classic - Morehead State v LIU Brooklyn

Morehead State coach Sean Woods pushes player to tears with bench outburst


I don’t know the story behind the relationship that Morehead State head coach Sean Woods has with anyone on his team.

And frankly, I don’t care about it.

For all I know, Devon Atkinson could be the biggest pain in the you know what that Woods has ever coached. He could talk back. He could curse out his coach. He might kick puppies. He could even use the last of the milk in his morning cereal and put the empty carton back into the fridge.

I don’t know. And neither do you.

Which is why Woods’ reaction on the bench during Morehead State’s 81-70 loss to is so problematic.

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If you haven’t seen it yet, Woods nearly reduced Atkinson to tears on Wednesday night. During a timeout at the 5:51 mark, Woods shoved Atkinson towards the team huddle and then twice went nose-to-nose with the player, screaming at him.

Personally, I don’t have a huge issue with this. Did Woods go too far here? Probably, yes. Is Woods a guy that I would want to play for? No. Would it be the style that I coached in? Probably not. But this Morehead State team is one that thrives on hustle and energy, and it’s not crazy to think that they thrive on their fiery head coach for that. Every athlete has, at some point in their life, played for a ‘screamer’. You deal with it.

The bigger issue is that this is going to be the topic of conversation coming out of this game. Case in point: this post. I’m 250 words into the post, and I’m just now mentioning the fact that for 30 minutes on Wednesday night, Morehead State took it to Kentucky in Rupp. It was a sensational performance that included a 16-0 run in the first half. The Eagles weren’t able to hold on to complete the upset, but that’s expected.

They’re Morehead State.

And they were playing Kentucky.

But their performance was admirable, to say the least.

And it’s going to get buried by the mountain of criticism that Woods will receive because he pushed a player to the brink of tears on the bench.

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?