John Calipari

John Calipari to wear red this season in honor of R.J. Corman


Red is not the ideal color to wear when you’re the leader of Big Blue Nation. Though, Kentucky head coach John Calipari is willing to put the rivalry with Louisville aside for at least a game or so in honor of the late Richard J. Corman.

Corman was the owner of the R.J. Corman Railroad Group, and on Aug. 23, Corman unfortunately lost his longstanding battle with cancer. As Calipari explained through his personal website, the R.J. Corman Railroad Group’s main color is red, and Corman was the only person Coach Cal allowed to wear a red shirt while watching Kentucky practices.

When Calipari accepted the UK job in 2009, it was Corman who sent a plane to pick up Calipari and his wife and bring them to Lexington for the introductory press conference. The two remained close, so much so Calipari referred to him as a brother.

On Monday, Calipari announced his decision to honor his friend this season:

I always said I would never wear red, but in honor of my friend, I’m going to wear a Rick Corman red jacket to one or more games this season. It’s the second color I said I would never wear but ended up doing (brown was the other), but I promise I will never wear orange. Oh, and it won’t be for the Louisville game either.

John Calipari has done a lot for the Kentucky faithful, and this touching gesture for a close friend gives him a pass to wear a little red, even if it is inside Rupp Arena.

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?