Texas lands 2013 point guard Isaiah Taylor

Leave a comment

One of two point guards to announce a commitment Friday night, Isaiah Taylor (The Village School/Houston, TX) will stay in state for his college career, as he committed to Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns.

“I just committed,” Taylor told Orangebloods.com. “I called the coaches a couple of hours ago to tell them.”

“I was the only point guard they had offered,” added Taylor. “They basically said they wouldn’t recruit (another point guard) if I committed. They weren’t surprised. I actually talked to them about it last night. They kind of had an idea. I talked to [associate head coach Rob] Lanier about it before.

“Coach Barnes actually just called my dad today just to talk. They were all excited.”

This is the first commitment for the Class of 2013 for the Longhorns, however Texas could land some top players to go along with the three-star point guard.

Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian/Plano TX), a top-10 player has Texas in his remaining six – along with Kentucky, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Florida, and Kansas. Barnes could also land Keith Frazier (Kimball High/Dallas, TX), a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, who also holds offers from Providence, SMU, LSU, and Memphis.

Barnes has locked up a point guard for next year, but has been playing with his current point guard for all of this season thus far. Sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo is suspended the first 23 games for receiving impermissible benefits.

Freshman point guard Javan Felix is averaging 8.3 points and 6.5 assists in replacement of Kabongo.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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?