Jim Larranaga

Miami adds JuCo forward James Kelly, seventh player added

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Jim Larranaga and the Atlantic Coast Conference champs added a seventh newcomer for the 2013-2014 season in junior college transfer James Kelly (Owens Community College/Toledo, Ohio).

The transfer power forward Kelly averaged 18.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while leading Owens CC to the NJCAA Division II tournament semifinals. Kelly was ranked as the No. 22 overall junior college player according to JuCoRecruiting.com

“James Kelly will be a vital part of the team this season because he provides us a power forward/small forward who can contribute both inside and outside,” Larranaga said in a statement. “He’s 6-7, 245 pounds and he’s big enough to battle the bigger teams in the ACC, but also quick enough to guard smaller players on the perimeter.”

Miami ended last season with a 29-7 record, but will not return its six top scorers, including five graduating seniors and sophomore point guard Shane Larkin who declared for the NBA Draft.

“Our recruiting class in the spring has added a lot of versatility and much-needed skills to our program,” added Larranaga. “We have graduated five outstanding seniors and lost Shane Larkin to the NBA Draft, so we have a lot of holes to fill.”

Kelly signed on Tuesday along with Emmanuel LeComte, a 5-foot-9 point guard from Belgium. The Hurricanes will try to get transfer point guard Angel Rodriguez to get a waiver to play next year after transferring from Kansas State.

The rest of Miami’s incoming class includes shooting guards Davon Reed (Princeton Day School/Princeton, N.J.) and Deandre Burnett (Massanutten Military Academy/Miami, Fla.) A pair of Miami football recruits — Derrick Griffin and Cornelius Elder — will join the basketball team at the end of football season.

The six players Miami lose from the 2012-2013 team accounted for an average of 62.9 points per game.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

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?