Despite the graduation of James Ennis and Peter Pappageorge, Long Beach State had the look of a team with enough pieces returning for the 2013-14 season to be considered a threat to win their fourth consecutive Big West regular season title.
However those hopes have taken a significant hit, as it was reported by West Coast Hoops Report that guards Keala King and Deng Deng and power forward Tony Freeland have all been dismissed from the program.
Freeland and King didn’t become eligible until late-December after transferring in from DePaul and Arizona State, respectively, but once eligible the two upperclassmen were key figures for the 49ers.
Freeland averaged 11.0 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest, and his addition allowed Ennis to move back to his natural position on the wing after having to play much of Long Beach State’s non-conference schedule as an undersized four.
King averaged 9.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, shooting 43.5% from the field. Deng, a freshman from Long Beach, didn’t start a game this season but finished fourth on the team with 33 made three-pointers. With the departure of Ennis (55 3PM) and Pappageorge (51), who led the team in three-pointers made, he stood to see an increase in opportunities in 2013-14.
However that won’t happen, and the end result is likely even more responsibilities offensively for rising junior point guard Mike Caffey. Caffey averaged 12.0 points and 3.8 assists per game last season, earning first team All-Big West honors.
Head coach Dan Monson also welcomes back forward Dan Jennings (8.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg), and UCLA transfer Tyler Lamb becomes eligible at the end of the fall semester.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.
Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.
“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.
“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”
Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.
This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.
Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.
“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.
This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.
He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.
The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.