Syracuse Orange Carter-Williams reacts as the official signals a three-point shot against the Indiana Hoosiers during the second half in their East Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Washington

Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams enters NBA Draft

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(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

Tyler Ennis, the keys to the Syracuse attack are now yours.

In a decision that surprised few, Syracuse announced Wednesday afternoon that sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams will enter the 2013 NBA Draft. After playing sparingly as a freshman, the 6-6 Carter-Williams helped lead the Orange to the Final Four with averages of 11.9 points, 7.3 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game.

“Michael has informed me of his intention to enter the NBA Draft,” head coach Jim Boeheim said in a statement released by the school.

“He’s coming off a tremendous season and we appreciate all he’s done for Syracuse basketball. We wish Michael the best of luck as he pursues a pro career.”

Carter-Williams is projected by many scouts as a first round selection with the back end of the lottery being a possibility. And while there was no mention of this in the statement released by Syracuse, one would think that his family’s home being destroyed by a fire during the first weekend of the NCAA tournament played a role in the decision as well.

With Carter-Williams’ decision to turn pro and the graduation of Brandon Triche the Syracuse backcourt will look much different (and lack experience) in 2013-14. With that in mind, Boeheim and his staff made moves on the recruiting trail that will make the Orange a contender in their ACC debut.

The aforementioned Ennis is one of the best point guards in the 2013 class, and shooting guard Ron Patterson and wing B.J. Johnson will join rising redshirt sophomore Trevor Cooney and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije (small forward) in the rotation.

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
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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?