Josh Freelove, Lewis Jackson

Alabama State’s postseason ban rescinded by NCAA

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Earlier this spring it was announced by the NCAA that Alabama State was one of six men’s basketball programs to be banned from postseason play in 2013-14 due to low Academic Progress Rate (APR) numbers.

On Friday, Alabama State announced that after the NCAA’s evaluation of additional data submitted by the athletic department the Hornets are no longer subject to that ban. Alabama State also received the good news regarding its football, baseball and volleyball programs.

“Once the NCAA evaluated that additional academic performance data, assessed our ASU Academic Improvement Plan and reviewed us according to its Limited Resource Institution component, the NCAA staff determined that ASU will not be penalized,” Alabama State interim athletic director Melvin Hines said in the statement released by the school.

One of the points of contention with the new APR guidelines in recent years has been the fact that schools without the resources needed to make sure their student-athletes remain on track academically are the ones most often penalized. Taking into consideration that lack of resources is the right thing to do when the NCAA looks at cases such as Alabama State’s.

Lewis Jackson’s Hornets finished the 2012-13 season with a 10-22 record, finishing SWAC play with an 8-10 league record. Next year’s team has just one senior on the roster (guard Denzel McDaniel), and the Hornets will also have to account for the departures of leading scorers Josh Freelove (13.3 ppg) and Phillip Crawford (13.2, 6.1 rpg).

But even with the heavy personnel changes (Alabama State adds five newcomers, with four being junior college transfers) at the very least the Hornets know that they’ll be able to compete for the SWAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.