Illinois v Miami

Miami’s Shane Larkin to announce decision Sunday evening


With five seniors among its top six scorers, the ACC champion Miami Hurricanes will look far different in 2013-14. The one player among those six who isn’t due to graduate is sophomore point guard Shane Larkin, who proved to be one of the nation’s best point guards as the season progressed.

Larkin’s skill has put him in position to possibly leave school early to enter the NBA Draft, with many expecting Larkin to be a first round selection.

And in response to a tweet from Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post that he would forego his final two seasons of eligibility, Larkin denied the report and announced that he will make his decision public Sunday evening.

In 36 games Larkin averaged 14.5 points, 4.6 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game for the Hurricanes, who won their first-ever ACC title and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

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

If Larkin were to move on to the professional ranks Miami’s leading returning scorer would be rising senior Rion Brown, who averaged 6.4 points per game in 2012-13. Brown would also be the lone returnee to average double-digit minutes (22.2 mpg), with center Tonye Jekiri (6.9 mpg) and forward Erik Swoope (6.0 mpg) being next in line in that regard.

Head coach Jim Larrañaga and his staff have signed two talented shooting guards in the 2013 class, Deandre Burnett and Davon Reed, and both figure to receive plenty of chances to earn playing time given how much Miami loses production-wise.

If Larkin were to return those two would get the chance to learn from one of the nation’s best floor generals. But if he goes, the task of returning to the NCAA tournament becomes incredibly difficult.

Miami hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament in consecutive seasons since making three straight appearances from 1998 to 2000.

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?