Nebraska hires Kenya Hunter away from Georgetown

Leave a comment

Nebraska has hired Kenya Hunter as associate head coach, according to a release from the school. Hunter had previously been an assistant coach at Georgetown under John Thompson III.

“I’m really excited to add Kenya Hunter to our staff. He brings a wealth of experience in many areas which will help the Huskers reach our goals,” Nebraska head coach Tim Miles said. “Through my discussions with Kenya, I was very impressed with his knowledge of the game and his feel for the game, and I believe his extensive network of contacts will help us expand our recruiting boundaries.”

This hiring clears up some of the confusion regarding Georgetown’s coaching staff. After Mike Brennan was hired as the head coach at American, JT3 went out and hired both Tavaras Hardy and Kevin Sutton as assistants. Hunter’s decision to take the job with Nebraska makes sense, as it opened up a third assistant coach position.

The bigger news here is that this is just the latest example of Nebraska funneling money into the hoops program. Gary Parrish explains:

The Big Ten school opened a new $20 million basketball practice facility in October 2011, will open a new $179 million basketball arena this season, and is paying second-year coach Tim Miles a salary that’ll eventually exceed $2 million annually, which brings me to Hunter and his salary. A source told that it’ll be $230,000 a year, and that all three Huskers assistants now make at least $200,000 a year. So while Nebraska is still quite obviously a “football” school, the administration has made it clear it thinks there’s no reason basketball can’t operate at a high level, too.

Now dumping money into a program doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s guaranteed to be successful, especially not when the Cornhuskers share a conference with Indiana, Ohio State, Wisconsin, both Michigans, and a number of other programs — Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, eventually Maryland — with significantly more hoops notoriety.

But the fact that the Huskers are investing in their hoops program means that they do care about getting better. They want to have a relevant basketball program.

And that’s the first step that needed to be made.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?