Former Villanova guard Achraf Yacoubou to transfer to St. Louis

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Late last evening, Ben Weixlmann broke the news that Villanova sophomore guard Achraf Yacoubou will be transferring to St. Louis University.

This is a solid pickup for Jim Crews, who was recently hired full-time as the St. Louis coach (Crews was the interim coach for the 2012-13 season after college basketball legend Rick Majerus passed away). Yacoubou developed into a legitimate threat from the perimeter during his sophomore season connecting on 39.6% of his three point attempts (21-53)—13 percentage points better than his freshman season.

As a sophomore, Yacoubou averaged 2.9 points per game in 12.0 minutes of action, but saw his floor time evaporate in the latter half of the Big East schedule through the rest of the season. Yacoubou averaged just a shade above 14 minutes in Villanova’s first 25 games of the season, but saw a total of just 19 minutes in their final nine contests.

When he announced his decision to transfer in early April, his initial list of schools, according to Adam Zagoria, were Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and UNLV. A month later, Yacoubou narrowed the list down to Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and St. Louis.

The guard from the Bronx, NY certainly doesn’t lack any confidence:

I averaged the highest 3-point percentage and field goal efficiency and was the best defensive player on the team and I also played well against Louisville and Syracuse and when I played 25 minutes I led the team in points and rebounds. But after the last Syracuse game I ended up averaging 12 minutes and I wanted to play more but I wasn’t.

With his minutes waning significantly as the season progressed, it is easy to see why Yacoubou wishes to take his remaining two years at another school.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Yacoubou will be required to sit out for the 2013-14 season, and will become eligible for 2014-15.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Louisville accuser: Rick Pitino knew ‘about everything’

Rick Pitino
AP Photo
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Katina Powell, the author of a book that alleges the a member Louisville basketball coaching staff hired escorts in an effort to help land recruits, has spoken publicly for the first time since ‘Breaking Cardinal Rules’ was published.

In an interview with the Indianapolis Business Journal, Powell doubled-down on the accuracy of what she wrote and the reasons for why she published this — in a word, money. But she also made very clear that she believes head coach Rick Pitino knew all about what was happening in Billy Minardi Hall.

“How can it be going on for four years, that many people be involved and that many people see what’s going on and Rick Pitino doesn’t know anything about it?” Powell said. “You have players that are very, very loyal to Pitino. And if they thought anything was wrong or anyone was going to get in trouble, I’m pretty sure they would have gone back to report to Pitino. When I would ask Andre, ‘Does Pitino know about this?’ he would laugh and say, ‘Rick knows about everything.'”

Pitino has vehemently denied knowledge of what happened in his program.

Whether or not Pitino truly did know won’t be enough to prevent the NCAA from coming down on him and his program if they’re able to prove that these allegations are true. Coaches are now responsible for everything that happens within their program; too many big names were able to skirt punishment through plausible deniability and pinning the blame on an assistant.

What innocence may do, however, is save Pitino’s job. Because if the NCAA is able to find a way to prove that he knew about, funded or green-lit the hiring of escorts and prostitutes to help recruit, I don’t think he can remain the head coach at Louisville.

The question now becomes whether or not the NCAA is able to prove any of what Powell alleges happened in her book, and I think they have a pretty good chance of making that happen. What they’ll likely do — and what they have probably already begun doing — is to interview players that were recruited by Louisville but that ended up at other schools, threatening ineligibility while offering immunity for the truth.

Five-star LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney was explicitly mentioned in the book, with Powell going into detail about how an escort was sent to the hotel room that he was staying in. Ohio State’s five-star freshman Ja’Quan Lyle was also mentioned. Both players were, at one point, committed to Louisville.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.