Austin Seferian-Jenkins, James Blasczyk

Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins won’t play hoops this season

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After playing in 17 games as a freshman last season, Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has decided that he won’t be playing basketball for the Huskies this season.

Seferian-Jenkins finished the 2012 football season with 69 receptions for 852 yards and seven touchdowns.

“I just need to focus on school and get (rested). I don’t feel like I’d be to help the basketball team much right now,” Seferian-Jenkins said in a statement released by the school.

At 6-6, 250 pounds Seferian-Jenkins gave the Huskies another physical body to call on inside last season, averaging 7.2 minutes in the 17 games in which he played.

But as the lone underclassman finalist for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best tight end, and a second team All-Pac-12 selection this is an important offseason for the sophomore in regards to what he can accomplish on the gridiron.

Washington is in better shape inside now than they were during non-conference play as Shawn Kemp Jr. has played in the last six games after missing the start of the season with a knee injury.

Rebounding’s been a problem for the Huskies all season long, as their defensive rebounding percentage (64.9%) ranks dead last in the Pac-12, and that was going to be a problem even if Seferian-Jenkins were to decide to play.

The Huskies begin Pac-12 play on Saturday night with a visit to rival Washington State.

But for Pac-12 fans who enjoy watching football players on the basketball court don’t get too upset about the news. There’s still Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who joins the team this weekend, and USC offensive lineman Zach Banner to keep tabs on.

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

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?