Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Iona announces addition of Brock Erickson to coaching staff

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Iona announced a coaching hire Friday, with head coach Tim Cluess adding Brock Erickson to his coaching staff to fill the vacancy left when Zak Boisvert joined Greg Herenda’s staff at Fairleigh Dickinson.

Last season Erickson was the head coach at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota where one of his players was guard Isaiah Williams, who won Suncoast Conference Player of the Year honors.

Williams, who was one of six Manatees to earn all-conference honors, signed a National Letter of Intent to join the Iona program in November.

Erickson has plenty of coaching experience at the junior college level, and his five-year stint at Monroe (N.Y.) JC means that he has some familiarity with the New York metropolitan area.

His Mustang squad played at the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS in each of his last three seasons at Monroe. Erickson had a track record of recruiting top talent from across the nation. He helped recruit four NJCAA All-American and 21 All-Conference players. Academically, he displayed a great deal of success as well. In five years at Monroe, 22 of his 25 sophomores graduated. While he was an assistant, the team held a record of 147-28, including a third place finish in 2011 and fifth place finish in 2012 at the national tournament. For much of the 2011-2012 season, Erickson’s team was ranked No. 1 in the nation for NJCAA Division I.

“We’re excited to have Coach Erickson come on board,” said Cluess in the release announcing the hire. “His tireless work ethic and knowledge of the game will be a tremendous asset to the program.

“Brock has several years of experience at the Division III and junior college levels in the Metropolitan area and has established strong connections that will help us with recruiting as well.”

Erickson joins associate head coach Jared Grasso and assistant Bill O’Keefe on Cluess’ staff, with the Gaels looking to reach the NCAA tournament for the third consecutive season in 2013-14.

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?