Blaine Taylor

Report: Blaine Taylor has been fired at Old Dominion

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According to multiple reports, Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor has been dismissed as the Monarch’s head coach.

There will be a press conference at 3:00 p.m. to make the firing official.

Taylor is in his 12th year at Old Dominion, making the postseason the past eight seasons. He won 20 games in seven of those eight seasons. His average record the past four seasons: 25-10. He’s made four NCAA tournaments and had a 237-124 record at the school prior to this season’s meltdown. ODU is 2-20 this year, which is simply a disastrous performance in their final year in the CAA, but that makes me believe there is more to the story here.

ODU has been one of the best mid-major programs in the country during Taylor’s tenure, and their talent level didn’t drop precipitously this season. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year, but that 2-20 record proves that there is a lot more that is wrong with this team than a simple “rebuilding”. And I’d wager dollars to donuts that’s what got Taylor canned.

David Teel agrees, as does Jeff Goodman.

UPDATE: This quote from ODU’s press release isn’t exactly praising Taylor: “This decision is not based solely on wins and losses, but on a number of factors by which a head coach is evaluated. At this point, in regard to our head men’s basketball coach, our student athletes need mentorship, leadership and guidance. Our fans and alumni need encouragement. Our administration needs confidence in our leadership.”

Taylor battled alcoholism back in 1995, even going to rehab for it. But it looks like the disease may have reared its ugly head again.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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?