Report: Current Prime Prep players aren’t clear of the NCAA yet

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Buried in Jeff Goodman’s latest post on his Insider blog over at ESPN.com is an interesting note about Prime Prep, the Texas charter school that was launched by Deion Sanders last year. If you remember, two Prime Prep products in the Class of 2013 — LSU’s Jordan Mickey and TCU’s Karviar Shepard — were initially ruled ineligible by the NCAA before having that decision overruled on appeal.

According to Goodman, that ruling shouldn’t be considered an ‘all clear’ for the athletes currently at Prime Prep:

That doesn’t mean that Deion Sanders’ Prime Prep has been given the green light by the NCAA. The NCAA cleared the players because it felt that both were given misleading information by the school, sources told ESPN.com.

That isn’t good news for Emmanuel Mudiay, a top five recruit in the Class of 2014, or Elijah Thomas, a top ten recruit in the Class of 2015. Both made the decision to return to Prime Prep for the 2013-2014 season after spending last season at the school.

The NCAA’s Eligibility Center website currently has this statement posted regarding Prime Prep: “This program is under an extended evaluation period to determine if it meets the academic requirements for NCAA cleared status. During this evaluation period, the courses listed below may be subject to further review on a case-by-case basis, which will require additional academic documentation.”

The issue, which John Infante of the BylawBlog touched on last month, appears not to be whether or not Prime Prep’s courses are approved as core courses, but whether or not they are being taught in a manner that’s deemed academically sound. Mudiay told NBCSports.com in July that Prime Prep used VSchoolz, an online educational system, in class.

Stanford loses key veteran guard to stress fracture

Marcus Allen
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Stanford guard Marcus Allen will be out indefinitely after suffering a stress fracture in his right foot, the school announced on Monday evening.

“We want to make sure Marcus is fully healthy before returning to the court,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said in a statement. “Marcus played at a high level during our summer exhibition competition in Italy, where he was one of our leading scorers. We will certainly miss him as we continue to prepare for the season, but we are fortunate that this happened now and he will be back before he knows it.”

The loss of Allen is a potentially brutal blow in an already-thin back court. The 6-foot-3 Allen started 23 games as a sophomore last season, averaging 6.4 points and 3.5 boards. But he averaged 11.4 points and 5.4 boards as the Cardinal made a run to the NIT championship and looked poised to be able to replace the departed Chasson Randle’s production this year.

What’s worse is that without Allen, Stanford does not return a single player in their back court that averaged more than 11.5 minutes. Sophomore Robert Cartwright looks poised to step into the starting point guard role, but neither Dorian Pickens nor Christian Sanders looked like they were ready for that kind of role in the Pac-12 last season. Dawkins does return Malcolm Allen, Marcus’ twin brother, who sat out last season with a broken wrist.

The good news is that Stanford’s front court is strong enough to carry the Cardinal until Marcus is healthy. Rosco Allen, Reid Travis and Michael Humphrey will be able to hold their own against any front line in the Pac-12, while Grant Verhoeven and freshman Josh Sharma will provide adequate depth.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.