Doug Wojcik

Forward Evan Bailey becomes College of Charleston’s second 2014 commit

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With two players at the small forward position out of eligibility when the 2013-14 season ends, College of Charleston head coach Doug Wojcik needed to land another wing on the recruiting trail. On Friday the head coach received a verbal pledge from 6-6 small forward Evan Bailey, the Cougars’ second commitment in the 2014 class.

Bailey, a native Massillon, Ohio, committed to the Colonial Athletic Association school without taking an official visit and did so despite holding offers from programs such as Harvard, Princeton and Kent State. Bailey joins power forward Donovan Gilmore, a native of Greensboro, N.C., in Charleston’s 2014 recruiting class. In Bailey, the Cougars get a versatile player who has the ability to play multiple positions at the collegiate level.

“He plays all five positions for us from point guard to center,” Jackson High School head coach Tim Debevec told Andrew Miller of the Charleston Post and Courier. “Evan is a gym rat. You’ve got to kick him out of the gym. He’s a very good shooter and he’s a good all-round player. He wanted to go to the ACC or the Big Ten, but I think he’ll have a chance to play his freshman year down in Charleston.”

With Bailey on board, Charleston has a player who can help account for the eventual departures of current seniors Nori Johnson and Anthony Thomas. Johnson averaged just 4.5 points per contest last season, while Thomas accounted for 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

With guard Andrew Lawrence and forward Trent Wiedeman no longer a part of the program, Johnson and Thomas will be two of the players (along with guard Anthony Stitt and forwards Adjehi Baru and Willis Hall) expected to lead the way for the Cougars as they begin play in the CAA.

Charleston adds four newcomers to the program this season, center Glen Pierre Jr., power forward Terrance O’Donohue and guards Joe Chealey and Johnathan Cook.

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?