Robert Morris v Arkansas

Wake Forest announces addition of former Robert Morris guard Coron Williams

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With leading scorer C.J. Harris out of eligibility, Wake Forest was in need of a solid perimeter shooter as they look to improve their standing within an ACC that becomes tougher due to the arrival of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

On Wednesday afternoon the program announced the addition of former Robert Morris guard Coron Williams, a graduate student who will be eligible to play for the Demon Deacons immediately.

Williams averaged 9.1 points per game as a redshirt junior last season, but it’s also important to take note of his three-point shooting when considering where he’ll fit into the Wake Forest rotation.

Just two Demon Deacons shot better than 40% from beyond the arc last season: Harris (43.1%) and Chase Fischer (42.2%), and as a team Wake Forest shot 34.5% from deep (8th in the ACC). Last season Williams connected on 41.6% of his shots from distance, and for his career the Midlothian, Va. native is a 42.2% three-point shooter.

“We are excited to welcome Coron to the Wake Forest basketball family,” said head coach Jeff Bzdelik in the school release. “He combines athleticism with an excellent long range shooting ability. Coron’s maturity and leadership will be a great asset to our team next season.

“We are all looking forward to having him join our program.”

Williams joins a roster led by forwards Travis McKie (13.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Devin Thomas (9.1 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and guard Codi Miller-McIntyre (8.1 ppg, 2.6 apg), with the hope being that his shooting will not only help Wake Forest manage the departure of Harris but also relieve some of the pressure on McKie and Thomas.

“I think I can spread the court for this team with my shooting ability, coming off screens and moving to get open off penetration,” Williams stated in the release. “I can also bring some leadership and experience after playing four years of college basketball.”

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?