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Elite 2014 shooting guard Devin Booker draws significant attention

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EAGAN, Mn. — As the EYBL nears the end of its regular season over Memorial Day weekend near Minneapolis, many of the top uncommitted players in the 2014 class are seeing their recruitments pick up before the summer months begin.

One player drawing tons of attention is Alabama Challenge shooting guard Devin Booker. The 6-5 Booker is currently regarded as the No. 23 player in Rivals’ 2014 national rankings, and so far many of the top schools in the country have made the sweet-shooting guard a priority.

“Every school that’s recruiting has offered me so far,” Booker said. “That includes Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Florida, Kentucky, Duke and North Carolina.”

While Booker’s list of suitors is an impressive list, it’s been an adjustment to deal with the daily rigors of recruiting.

“It’s tough, honestly. Ever since EYBL has started back up (after April), you know every coach, it’s on a day-to-day basis, coaches have been down (to visit) and I’ve been to every school except for Kentucky,” Booker said of his recent recruitment.

Devin went on a lot of unofficial visits in the fall, except to Kentucky as he noted, but he doesn’t plan on taking any visits in the near future.

“Not any time soon; probably going to wait until the fall,” Booker said of new visits. “Because right before the season I visited six schools in a row back-to-back weekends.”

Despite Booker’s rush to visit the schools on his list, he doesn’t have a particular feel for when his recruitment will end at the moment.

“No, right now I don’t (have a timeframe on my commitment),” Booker said. “(I’m) just taking it slow and enjoying it right now.”

Since Booker has seen the campus of many of the schools recruiting him and since he’s hearing from coaches on a daily basis, he has one key factor in his decision to move forward with a commitment.

“Just trust,” Booker said. “Trust with the coach; trust with the team that I’m going to be playing with. I want the coach to trust me and I want to trust the coach also.”

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?