Butler's Brad Stevens goes onto the court against Indiana during an NCAA basketball game in Indianapolis

Recruiting-wise, Brad Stevens’ departure comes at bad time for Butler

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The announcement that Brad Stevens would leave his post at Butler to take over as head coach of the Boston Celtics was certainly a stunner, given the fact that he’s had the opportunity to take over some of college basketball’s most prestigious programs only to remain in Indianapolis.

Butler AD Barry Collier now has quite the task on his hands, as he’ll need to find a replacement for one of the game’s best coaches (young or old).

Also of importance in this move is the fact that one week from today, the first of three five-day open recruiting periods in the month of July begins.

This is the second transaction involving the Butler coaching staff this offseason, with assistant Matt Graves leaving a couple months ago to take the head coaching job at South Alabama. The question for assistants Terry Johnson, Michael Lewis and Brandon Miller: how will they go about prioritizing which recruits they need to watch during those open periods?

Also of note is the fact that the prospect of playing for Stevens could have impacted the thinking of 2014 targets. Is “The Butler Way,” which has been successful for quite some time, and the remaining staff enough to overcome his move to Boston?

For the time being Butler has just two seniors to replace after the 2013-14 campaign (forwards Erik Fromm and Khyle Marshall), so that could work in their favor this month.

While having a head coach would also help when it comes to knowing what style of play to recruit to it should be noted that a recruiting “quiet period” begins on August 1, meaning that coaches can’t talk to recruits during that time.

But the open periods are as much about showing one’s face as it is scouting prospective members of your program. And if those players aren’t sure of who the leader of that college program is, that can be a major issue.

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?