University of Kansas Athletics

Report: Former Kansas forward Zach Peters headed to Arizona

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In the aftermath of Solomon Hill’s graduation and Grant Jerrett’s decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft the Arizona Wildcats found themselves in need of bodies to bolster their front court depth.

Sean Miller’s program certainly doesn’t lack for talent, with McDonald’s All American Aaron Gordon joining rising sophomores Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski to form a trio that has the potential to be one of the nation’s best next season.

However depth is a concern for this group, and Arizona received a boost in that regard as it was reported by Josh Gershon of that former Kansas forward Zach Peters will join the program.

Peters, a 6-9 power forward who attended Prestonwood Christian Academy in Texas before enrolling at Kansas, didn’t last too long in Lawrence due to multiple injuries.

The accumulation of four concussions suffered over a two-year period and a rotator cuff injury prevented Peters from practicing, and ultimately the decision was made in late November to return to his home in Plano, Texas to heal.

“Zach and I met today after he went home to meet with his family for Thanksgiving, and he has informed us that he will be leaving the basketball program effective at the end of the semester,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said when announcing Peters’ decision.

“Zach has labored with health issues since he has been here. His shoulder has improved but he’s also been dealing with multiple concussions that have become a big source of frustration and concern for him.”

The question now is when will Peters be eligible to play. Since he was enrolled at Kansas for the fall semester, in all likelihood he wouldn’t be able to play in games at Arizona until the end of the 2013 fall semester.

Could the fact that he never practiced much less played a game at Kansas improve Peters’ chances of being available at the start of the 2013-14 season? If so, adding Peters to the mix gives Arizona interior depth (there’s also redshirt junior Matt Korcheck) they lacked in the aftermath of Jerrett’s decision to leave school.

Peters is the second addition in as many days for the Wildcats, with 6-7 forward Eric Conklin (Chaparral HS, Scottsdale, Ariz.)  joining the program as a walk-on.

Raphielle 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?