Xavier Thames strained his lower back more than a month ago, but San Diego State’s floor general has been unable to get healthy.
He’s missed three of the last seven games for the Aztecs. SDSU has gone 4-3 in that span. Thames sat out two of the losses, and finished with zero points on 0-5 shooting with three turnovers and no assists in 25 minutes in a loss to UNLV.
Clearly, Thames, who is the only natural point guard that Steve Fisher has at his disposal, is an important piece for the Aztecs.
Which is why the latest news regarding Thames should be so concerning:
Fisher said he will meet with Xavier Thames, trainer Tom Abdenour and team physician Dr. Christopher Behr on Tuesday to discuss a course of action for the lower back strain that has plagued his point guard for five weeks now.
Fisher said a whole range of options are on the table: “Continue what we’re doing, what it would mean if he tried to play in pain, or shut him down completely for a couple weeks.”
Thames has missed three games since tweaking the back, including Saturday at Air Force, and the Aztecs lost two. At practice Monday, he did the same as he has for the past month – participating in spot shooting but not in live drills.
What makes this a bigger issue is that Chase Tapley is beat up as well. He’s dealing with a sprained wrist, one that forced him into 1-7 shooting in Saturday’s loss to Air Force, and missed time due to a knee injury earlier this year.
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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 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?