This time next week the national champion Louisville Cardinals will be in the Nation’s Capital to meet President Barack Obama for their congratulatory visit to the White House.
Head coach Rick Pitino broke the news earlier on Monday during a radio appearance on WHAS with Terry Meiners.
“It’s very much an educational trip and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the players,” Pitino told WHAS.
Pitino is expected to have his entire team with him, including the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player Luke Hancock, who was playing in the World University Games in Russia, as well Montrezl Harrell, who played with the Under-19 team that won gold at the FIBA World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Of course, guard Kevin Ware already made a trip to the White House in April, as a guest at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Obama had called Pitino days after the Cards defeated Michigan, despite the president picking Indiana to beat Louisville.
Pitino will travel a lot these upcoming months. After being to D.C., he and his coaching staff will fly to Las Vegas for the adidas Super 64. He’ll have some down time following the July live period, but then he makes the trip to Springfield, Mass. to be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 7.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
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 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?