Big East Basketball Tournament - First Round

Former Seton Hall guard Aaron Cosby transfers to Illinois

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Aaron Cosby has decided where he will use his last two years of eligibility. The former Seton Hall guard chose Illinois over Missouri on Saturday according to Marcus Jackson of The News-Gazette.

Jackson tweeted the announcement just after midnight on Saturday. Cosby was the Pirates second leading scorer in his sophomore season, averaging 12.6 points per game. His transfer options appeared to be very wide open until he limited it to just the Illini and Mizzou. In an interview with Jackson on Thursday, it appeared John Groce and Co. had the inside track.

“I really like Illinois’ playing style, and I was looking for comfort with the head coach, the staff and location. Cosby told “I have that with Illinois. I had a chance to sit down with Coach Groce and the staff already a couple of times. They came to my house and talked to my family, so I’m looking forward to getting there and seeing everything.”

Jackson mentioned that Groce, the Ohio head coach at the time, had recruited Cosby when he was at Northfield Mount Hermon (Mass.) in 2011. Two years later, Groce finally landed the Louisville, Ky. product.

“I got a chance to know them pretty well back then,” Cosby told Jackson. “I went to prep school for a year and got a lot of high-major offers. But, I really liked Coach Groce and his staff.”

Cosby will have to sit out next season and will have two years remaining starting 2014-2015 season. Illinois brings in a trio of guards for next year. Shooting guard Malcolm Hill and the Simeon Career Academy (Ill.) backcourt of Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate make up three of five recruits in the Illini’s 2013 class.

Tracy Adams returns for his junior season while Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson graduate this spring.

The 6-foot-2 Cosby decided to leave the Seton Hall program on March 18, five days after his sophomore campaign came to an end.

Illinois finished 23-13 (8-10 Big Ten) in 2012-2013 before being knocked out of the NCAA tournament by Miami in the round of 32.

Terrence is also the lead writer at and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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?