Karen Schiely/Akron Beacon-Journal

Akron announces reinstatement of forward Quincy Diggs

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Before the start of the 2012-13 season, Akron head coach Keith Dambrot announced that 6-6 forward Quincy Diggs was suspended for the entire year due to a violation of the school’s Code of Student Conduct.

Even with the return of key figures like center Zeke Marshall this was seen as an important loss for the Zips, as Diggs was coming off of a season in which he averaged 8.5 points per game and won MAC Sixth Man of the Year honors.

On Wednesday the university issued a statement announcing that the senior has been reinstated and will play for the Zips in 2013-14. Diggs rejoins a roster that still has rising seniors Nick Harney and Demetrius Treadwell.

There are two questions for Akron as they work towards the start of practices in October: how will they account for the graduation of Marshall, and how much can rising sophomore Carmelo Betancourt progress at the point.

Betancourt played in 33 games as a freshman but saw his minutes increase when incumbent Alex Abreu ended up in legal trouble. In seven of Akron’s final eight games Betancourt played double-digit minutes (including a season-high 31 minutes in their NCAA tournament loss to VCU), and in those eight games he accounted for 21 assists and 17 turnovers.

The addition of Diggs gives Akron some more experience in the front court, which will also include 6-11 center Pat Forsythe (3.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and two newcomers in Kwan Cheatham and Isaiah Johnson.

But if Akron is to return to the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four years, the Zips will need Betancourt to have an impact.

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?