One of the four players to make the decision to leave Rutgers in the aftermath of the Mike Rice controversy was 6-6 guard/forward Mike Poole, who played three seasons at the school prior to Rice being fired.
Ultimately the Rosedale, N.Y. native made the decision to transfer to Iona, with the hope that he would be granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA as opposed to having to sit out the 2013-14 campaign. On Wednesday Iona announced that Poole has received an NCAA Legislative Waiver, which makes him eligible to play immediately.
“I’m really excited to have a student-athlete of Mike’s caliber join us this season,” head coach Tim Cluess said in the release. “His leadership and toughness during summer workouts have been tremendous and he will be an integral part of our program.”
Poole wasn’t much of a scorer during his three seasons at Rutgers, posting averages of 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. But Poole’s value comes in the “little things,” as he’ll provide value to Iona in the areas that tend to be overlooked by many.
The Gaels, who made their second consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament last season, have to account for the departure of leading scorer and MAAC Player of the Year Momo Jones (22.6 ppg, 3.4 apg). But five of Iona’s top seven scorers from last season, most notably guard Sean Armand (16.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) and forward David Laury III (13.1, 10.3) are back in New Rochelle.
Armand set a school record last season with 112 made three-pointers, and given the pace at which Iona plays (8th nationally in adjusted tempo per kenpom.com) the Gaels should once again rank among the highest scoring teams in the country.
Their competition within the MAAC will look a bit different, as Loyola’s left for the Patriot League and reigning regular season champion Niagara lost a lot of production in the aftermath of Joe Mihalich leaving to take over at Hofstra. Also of note are the additions of Monmouth and Quinnipiac, and Jimmy Patsos (formerly at Loyola) is now running the show at Siena.
Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.
The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.
“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”
The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.
Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.
Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.
On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.
“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.
“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.
“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”
Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.
For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.
Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.