Three UCLA freshmen among 12 on midseason Wayman Tisdale Award watch list

1 Comment

The United States Basketball Writers of America (USBWA) released its midseason watch list for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best freshman as voted upon by members of the association.

Of the twelve freshmen on the list three play at UCLA: Jordan Adams, Kyle Anderson and Shabazz Muhammad. The Pac-12 leads the way with four players on the list as Arizona State point guard Jahii Carson joined the three Bruins.

UCLA is one of two schools with multiple candidates on the list as Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are also under consideration.

Three Big 12 players are on the list, including Kansas’ Ben McLemore, and of the 12 players 11 hail from “BCS AQ” conferences, with UNLV’s Anthony Bennett representing the Mountain West.

The full list is as follows:

G Jordan Adams, UCLA (6-5, 220, Fr., Atlanta, Ga.)

G Kyle Anderson, UCLA (6-9, 235, Fr., Fairview, N.J.)

C Isaiah Austin, Baylor (7-1, 220, Fr., Arlington, Texas)

F Anthony Bennett, UNLV (6-8, 240, Fr., Brampton, Ont.)

G Jahii Carson, Arizona State (5-10, 175, Fr., Mesa, Ariz.)

G Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell, Indiana (6-0, 178, Fr., Indianapolis, Ind.)

G Ben McLemore, Kansas (6-5, 195, Fr., St. Louis, Mo.)

G/F Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA (6-6, 225, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)

F Nerlens Noel, Kentucky (6-10, 228, Fr., Everett, Mass.)

F Glenn Robinson III, Michigan (6-6, 210, Fr., St. John, Ind.)

G Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (6-4, 225, Fr., Flower Mound, Texas)

G Nik Stauskas, Michigan (6-6, 190, Fr., Mississauga, Ont.)

Overall this is a good list, but as Jeff Borzello of points out St. John’s freshman forward JaKarr Sampson has a very good argument for inclusion. A five-time Big East Rookie of the Week selection, Sampson is averaging 14.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game for the surprising Red Storm.

So if Sampson were to be added which player comes off the list? Ferrell would be the most likely option in that regard, but the freshman point guard has been solid in leading one of the nation’s best teams.

Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon and Xavier guard Semaj Christon are two other freshmen who have played well this season, but here’s a third who hasn’t received much attention nationally: High Point forward John Brown.

The Panthers may be 10-10 (5-3 Big South) on the season but the redshirt freshman has been a bright spot for Scott Cherry’s team, averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game and also grabbing 6.5 rebounds per contest. Brown is shooting 51.9% from the field and combines with Allan Cheney to form arguably the best front court tandem in the Big South.

However, even with the arguments that can be made for a Sampson or Brown it’s tough to find any fault with this list (note: while a member of the USBWA, I did not have a vote for the midseason list).

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
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?