Jim Hogue Photos/Stetson University

Report: Former Stetson guard Chris Perez transferring to Canisius

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The 2012-13 season was a successful one for first-year Canisius head coach Jim Baron, who managed to win 20 games and lead the Golden Griffins to their first postseason appearance since then-head coach John Beilein led the program to the NCAA tournament in 1996.

Coach Baron will welcome back son Billy for his senior campaign but there are three guards who have exhausted their eligibility: Harold Washington (13.8 ppg), Isaac Sosa (11.6 ppg) and Alshawn Hymes (7.1 ppg).

That makes the report that former Stetson guard Chris Perez has decided to transfer to Canisius an important development for the Golden Griffins. The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.

Perez averaged 15.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest for the Hatters last season, shooting 48.6% from the field. A native of the Dominican Republic, Perez earned second team All-Atlantic Sun honors in 2012-13.

While he isn’t the prolific perimeter shooter that Billy Baron is, Perez (31.1% 3PT) will certainly help the Griffs offensively as they look to account for the departures noted above.

In addition to Perez, Canisius has also picked up commitments from junior college guard Jeremiah Williams and freshmen Zack Lewis and Kassius Robertson. Williams and Lewis have both signed a National Letter of Intent.

The Golden Griffins finished two games behind rival Niagara last season. With the coaching (and roster) changes at Niagara and NCAA tournament participant Iona losing MAAC Player of the Year Lamont Jones, can Coach Baron’s team play an even bigger role in the conference title race this season?

If Perez can have the impact he’s capable of, that would not be an unrealistic expectation.

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?