Matt Derenbecker

Matt Derenbecker headed back to Louisiana, transferring to New Orleans

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Matt Derenbecker is headed home. Again

The former LSU and Dayton forward will reportedly transfer to New Orleans, weeks after announcing he was leaving the Flyers’ program. He will apply for a waiver to be eligible immediately.

Derenbecker’s college career has logged him a lot of miles. The Metairie, La. native started 16 games as a freshman at LSU and averaged 6.5 points and 2.1 rebounds before deciding to leave the program, spending some time away from basketball to “address some personal matters” . That decision ultimately took him to Dayton, where after sitting out a season, the 6-7, 185-pounder averaged 4.5 points and 1.1 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game in 2012-13.

Though his one season in a Dayton uniform will mainly be remembered for this.

Now, he’s had a change of heart, again, and Derenbecker now wishes to be closer to home. So he’s signing with the Privateers, his third team in three eligible seasons.

“Either way, we’re excited to have Matt join our program,” New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger told The Baton Rouge Advocate. “He fills a need for us and I know he’s going to be happy to be playing close to home again.”

In a way, Derenbecker and the Privateers are a perfect fit. The Privateers, like Derenbecker, have had a whirlwind few years, initially electing to make the move from Division I to Division III after the school was decimated financially by Hurricane Katrina. That never happened, as the school is now back on its feet and has been an independent for the last few years. New Orleans will enter their first season in the Southland Conference in 2013-14.

If he gets the waiver, Derenbecker will have two seasons of eligibility remaining. If not, he’ll sit out the 2013-14 season, losing his redshirt junior year, and be eligible as a fifth-year senior in 2014-15.

New Orleans went 8-18 in their first season back as a Division I team, spending one season as a mercenary with the nomadic Great West Conference, in 2012-13. The Privateers lost only two seniors off last year’s squad, but they were their top-two scorers in Rarlensee Nelson and Lovell Cook. The Privateers return the likes of Cory Dixon (8.7 points, 5.1 rebounds per game) next season.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

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?