Syracuse v Arkansas

Christmas Wish Lists: Syracuse’s big men look to continue development

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Over the course of the next two weeks, College Basketball Talk will be detailing what some of the country’s best, most intriguing, and thoroughly enigmatic teams need. It’s the spirit of the holidays. We’re in a giving mood.

What do other teams have on their Christmas Wish Lists? Click here to find out.

Gotta have it list-topper: Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman and Baye Keita continue to develop
With players such as Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair, James Southerland and floor general Michael Carter-Williams the Orange are in very good shape offensively. However if Jim Boeheim’s team is to get to Atlanta big men Christmas, Coleman and Keita will need to continue to improve. They’ve performed well through nine games, averaging a combined 19.6 points and 17.1 rebounds per game, with Christmas and Coleman doing their work as starters and Keita coming off the bench. Syracuse’s title hopes ended last season when they lost the middle of their zone defense (Fab Melo); if these three can continue to control the paint when Big East play rolls around the Orange will be very tough to beat.

Stocking stuffer: Trevor Cooney becomes another reliable scorer off the bench
James Southerland is one of the best sixth men in the country, but would any Syracuse fan complain if Jim Boeheim were to end up with another consistent reserve? Cooney went scoreless in Syracuse’s win over Canisius on Saturday night but in the three games prior the redshirt freshman averaged 12.3 points per game (reaching double figures in all three contests). On the season Cooney is averaging 5.8 points per game, and if he can produce on a consistent basis the Orange will have another perimeter scorer to go along with Carter-Williams and Triche.

Planning on re-gifting: Foul shooting
Syracuse is currently making just 65.7% of their free throws, a number that ranks 10th in the Big East. But the is a point that should be made about said percentage: the team leader in free throw attempts is Coleman (38), who is currently shooting 50% from the charity stripe. Of the nine players averaging double digit minutes just three are shooting worse than 75% from the foul line: Coleman, Keita (44.4%) and Jerami Grant (25%). So if anything the Orange will look to re-gift the percentages of those three.

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

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.