Assistant Rob Judson leaves Illinois State coaching staff

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When Dan Muller was hired as the new head coach at Illinois State, it was stipulated that assistant coach Rob Judson would be a member of his coaching staff. Judson spent the prior five seasons as a member of Tim Jankovich’s staff, and the move was an interesting one given the fact that most new coaches look to bring in a completely different staff.

After one season on Muller’s staff Judson has stepped down to pursue other opporturnities, according to a report by Randy Kindred of the Bloomington (Ill.) Pantagraph. Judson will receive a buyout of $175,000 as part of the agreement.

“I want to thank Rob for his commitment and contributions to our program this year, and over the past six years,” Muller said in a statement released by the school. “I enjoyed our year together and wish him nothing but the best moving forward.”

Judson helped lead the Redbirds to a record of 122-79 and four Postseason NIT appearances. According to Kindred’s story, Judson was a finalist for the head coaching position last year following Jankovich’s move to SMU.

The move leaves Muller with an opening to fill on his coaching staff, with associate head coach Dana Ward and assistant Torrey Ward currently on staff. The question now is whether or not Muller has a replacement in mind with the first evaluation period less than a month away (July 10).

Illinois State has just one senior on its roster for the 2013-14 season, but with five juniors this is an important summer recruiting-wise when it comes to making inroads with 2014 and 2015 prospects (2015 prospects can begin receiving phone calls at midnight tonight).

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?