Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Kryzewski yells at officials in their ACC college basketball tournament game against Florida State Seminoles in Atlanta

Duke signee Semi Ojeleye scores 57 points in high school game


The focus of Duke’s 2013 recruiting class has been on Chicago phenom Jabari Parker, who committed to the Blue Devils on Dec. 20, but coach Mike Krzyzewski has a couple more aces up his sleeve.

Semi Ojeleye, a 6-6 forward from Ottawa, Kansas, who signed with Duke in September, went off for 57 points in a 77-30 win this week. Perhaps most impressively, though, is that the 57-point performance was not a season-high. Back in December, he scored 58 in another blowout victory.

Ojeleye is known to be a scoring, having averaged over 32 points per game as a junior. With his 6-6 frame, he is athletic and has the ability to be physical around the rim. When he gets to Duke, he will play second fiddle to Parker, but will be part of a Blue Devil team that will need to compensate for the scoring losses of Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, and Seth Curry.

Rasheed Sulaimon will likely stick around for at least another season, added to a returning Quinn Cook. Amile Jefferson could develop more in his sophomore season and Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston will be seniors.

With Ojeleye added to the mix, Duke might be young, but they could also have some dangerous scoring options.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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?