Kevin Willard

Rutgers, Seton Hall announce eight-year series through 2020

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It may not be a rivalry that makes national headlines (due in large part to the lack of success for both programs in recent years) but the annual matchup between Rutgers and Seton Hall was one that grew in importance within New Jersey once the Scarlet Knights joined the Big East in 1995.

Obviously conference realignment has halted (temporarily) some rivalries, but that won’t be the case for these two schools.

It was announced on Thursday that Rutgers and Seton Hall have agreed to an eight-year contract, with the first game of the series being played at Rutgers on December 7, 2013. Rutgers will host the game in odd-numbered years and Seton Hall will do so in even-numbered years.

“I’m obviously very excited that this series is going to continue,” Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan said in a joint statement released by the schools. “I have been a part of this rivalry as both a player and an assistant coach, and I look forward to preparing our team for it.

“It helps to build spirit and is good for our University, our fans, our students and the New Jersey basketball community. It’s special and we can’t wait to grow the rivalry even more.”

Interestingly enough there is a clause in Jordan’s contract that the school will pay him $5,000 for every win he gets over Rutgers’ in-state rival.

Overall the two schools have met 64 times since 1916 with Seton Hall holding a 35-29 edge, with the two schools meeting at least twice in every season with the exception of two (1996-97 and 1998-99) as fellow Big East members.

With Seton Hall becoming a member of the Big East 2.0 (?) and Rutgers moving to the AAC for a season before joining the Big Ten in 2014, the dynamic will change. But at least they’ll continue to play the series, and the hope of many is that future meetings will occur closer to the holiday season.

“Continuing a local college basketball rivalry with such a rich tradition only made sense,” said Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard.  “This game has evolved into one that both fan bases look forward to each season, so we are happy to see it continue.”

Rutgers won both meetings last season, 57-55 at the RAC on February 12 and 56-51 at the Prudential Center in Newark on March 8.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.