Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament - First Round - Charlotte v Richmond

2014 shooting guard Keyshawn Woods commits to Charlotte

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Charlotte head coach Alan Major landed his first commitment in the 2014 class, and he didn’t have to travel far in order to do so either.

As first reported by Justin Byerly, Northside Christian H.S. (Charlotte, N.C.) shooting guard Keyshawn Woods verbally committed to attend the Conference USA school. The 6-4 Woods helped lead Northside Christian to a class 2A state title this past season, earning NCISAA all-state honors (as did teammate James Demery, who like Woods is a 2014 prospect).

Woods will join a program that in 2013 begins its second stint in Conference USA, returning to the league after spending the past seven years in the Atlantic 10. Major’s 49ers finished the 2012-13 season with a 21-12 record (8-8 Atlantic 10), falling to Providence in the first round of the Postseason NIT.

Charlotte will have to account for the departure of forward Chris Braswell, but they do welcome back guard Pierra Henry (10.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and forward Willie Clayton (8.5, 6.2).

In regards to the position Woods will play at the next level, Charlotte’s most experienced returnees at shooting guard in 2013-14 are Terrence Williams (7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) and Ivan Benkovic (2.6 ppg), with both players failing to shoot better than 40% from the field last season. However, Benkovic did manage to make 40.4% of his shots from beyond the arc, making 23 three-pointers on the season.

Both will have eligibility remaining when the 2014-15 season rolls around, meaning that Woods will not lack for competition at shooting guard when he arrives on campus. And with Charlotte still having a few scholarships remaining (three, to be exact), it’s likely that Woods won’t be the only newcomer in his class.

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?