Explorers guard Peterson battles for a rebound with Wildcats forward Henriquez during the second round of their NCAA men's basketball tournament in Kansas City

Sophomore guard D.J. Peterson to remain at La Salle

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On Monday, La Salle sophomore guard D.J. Peterson was granted a release from his scholarship, as the Burnsville, Minn. native cited a desire to attend a school closer to his hometown.

But after considering his options and discussing the situation with both his parents and teammates, Peterson has decided to return to La Salle for his junior season.

“D.J. is close to his family and has missed them during his long absences from home,” head coach Dr. John Giannini said in a statement released by the school. “He also is close to his La Salle teammates. After deciding to transfer, he spoke with his parents and teammates and has since decided to stay at La Salle. D.J.’s decision is strictly personal and not basketball-related.”

“It is hard for a young person to be pulled in two different directions,” Giannini continued. “I respect that D.J. has had to make a difficult personal decision. Our recent success is largely due to our chemistry and family atmosphere. We would support any decisions D.J. makes for his future and we are happy that we will continue to be a part of our team.”

Peterson started 17 of the 34 games in which he played this past season, averaging 3.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per contest for the Explorers.

His numbers certainly aren’t as flashy as those posted by the likes of Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren or Ty Garland, but Peterson proved to be a solid member of a rotation that reached the Sweet 16.

His decision to return next season gives Dr. Giannini more depth on the perimeter as Galloway is out of eligibility. La Salle adds newcomer Amar Stukes on the perimeter, and they’ll also have the services of Cleon Roberts (redshirted in 2012-13).

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?