Jim Phillips, Chris Collins

2014 wing Vic Law becomes Chris Collins’ first commitment

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The Northwestern Wildcats have never reached the NCAA tournament. Losing Drew Crawford ten games into the 2012-13 season to a shoulder injury didn’t help matters, and in the end the school decided that it needed to make a coaching change.

With former Duke assistant Chris Collins replacing Bill Carmody, many wondered when (or if) the Illinois native would be able to turn the program around and make history. Well, an important step in that direction was taken Thursday as 2014 small forward Vic Law announced his decision to commit to Northwestern.

Law, who attends St. Rita High School in Chicago, is a four-star prospect rated in the Top 100 by many of the major scouting services. Law’s decision to commit to Northwestern is a big one for coach Collins and his staff, not only because of his talent (Law also boasts a 3.8 GPA according to the Chicago Tribune) but also because of the possibility of landing other area prospects down the line.

Law said it was incredibly meaningful to be this first commit under Collins. This is one step, and Law wants to be the catalyst in attracting other top recruits. That list includes but is not limited to Tyler Ulis, who he identified as his current top target. (Both played together on the AAU circuit.)

“I won’t be the only top player going to Northwestern,” Law said. “I can tell you that. I’ll pull some other guys.”

How many players Collins and his staff can ultimately get to commit in their first recruiting class remains to be seen. But in landing Law, there’s no doubt that the first-year head coach’s tenure is off to a good start.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.