In their final season in the Colonial Athletic Association the Georgia State Panthers have gone through an up and down season, as they enter this weekend with a 7-11 record (2-3 CAA).
Unfortunately for head coach Ron Hunter his bench will be a bit thinner for the remainder of the season, as the school announced on Friday that junior forward Denny Burguillos and redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Solomon are academically ineligible.
Burguillos and Solomon were on the lower end of the Panthers’ eight-man rotation, as they averaged 12.9 and 11.2 minutes per game respectively. Burguillos, a 6-7 forward from Venezuela who arrived at Georgia State by way of Casper CC in Wyoming, averaged 1.6 points and 2.5 rebounds in 17 games (six starts). Solomon was the more productive scorer of the two, averaging 5.4 points per game.
The question for Hunter is who can he call on to take some of the minutes now open with Burguillos and Solomon ineligible. Freshman David Travers is coming off of a game in which he scored eight points in 11 minutes of action (74-58 win over William & Mary) but is averaging just over six minutes per game on the season.
Fellow guard Ryann Green played 12 minutes in the win over William & Mary, and if the move isn’t to simply disperse those 24 minutes among the six players who have been consistent members of the rotation Travers and/or Green could be in line for an increase in playing time.
Georgia State plays four of its next five games on the road, beginning with Old Dominion on Saturday night. Three games behind first-place Northeastern (and two behind Towson, who they visit on Monday) it will be tough for the Panthers to make a run and put themselves in position to land a postseason bid.
With their decision to move to Conference USA, the Panthers won’t be able to take part in this season’s CAA tournament (conference bylaws prohibit departing schools from taking part).
Given what the CAA has been to this point in the season (favorites Delaware and Drexel have disappointed) this would be a good year for a team like Georgia State to have the conference tournament to shoot for.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
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 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?