Kevin Ollie

APR reports released, UConn ban lifted, six teams banned from postseason


The NCAA releases their annual academic progress ratings (APR) on Tuesday afternoon, with certain schools learning their fate for the upcoming season.

UConn, who were left out of the 2012-13 NCAA Tournament as a result of poor APR scores, has showed enough improvement to be allowed to participate in the postseason for the 2013-14 season.

The Huskies showed progress towards an eligible APR, going from an 889 in 2010-11 to a score of 897 in 2011-12.  As a result, all sanctions have been lifted for the season. Kevin Ollie showed that he can handle the job that the fanbase wanted him to get, succeeding Jim Calhoun and maintaining a high level of play and improving the academics of the program, as he did as an assistant last season.

In all, six teams — New Orleans, Florida International, Grambling State, Mississippi Valley State, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Alabama State — received postseason bans for college basketball as a result of low APR scores. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Mississippi Valley State will enter their second consecutive year of a postseason ban.

A year after experiencing one of their best seasons in over a decade, FIU will not be eligible for the postseason, posting a multi-year rate of 858, one year after posting a 909. They will also receive a practice time reduction.

NCAA guidelines require athletic programs to keep a four-year rolling APR of at least 900 or a two-year rolling APR of 930, or be punished with a postseason ban. Four-year APRs of at least 930, or two-year averages of 940 are required to avoid penalties such as reductions in practice time and/or scholarships.

In all, 18 schools received postseason bans on various athletic teams.

It’s always a good thing to have UConn contending in the college basketball world, not having them in it hurt things in the last year of the Big East Conference (as we know it) last season. As for FIU, you have to assume that, while Minnesota is by far a better gig than being the second school in Miami, this is one of the reason Richard Pitino bolted after one season with the Golden Panthers. Isaiah Thomas’ tenure and firing brought the program down on and off the court, noticeably.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.