On Wednesday night the Stanford basketball program received an important verbal commitment, one that shores up the backcourt for head coach Johnny Dawkins with starting point guard Aaron Bright entering his senior season.
According to Josh Gershon of Scout.com, 2014 point guard Robert Cartwright has verbally committed to attend the Pac-12 school (subscription required). The 6-3 Cartwright, who attends Flintridge Prep, is Stanford’s first verbal commitment in the 2014 class. And as noted above, Bright’s status is one of the reasons why this development is so important for the Cardinal.
Cartwright helped lead Flintridge Prep to a 22-7 record last season with averages of 18.8 points and 4.3 assists per game. He’s also a very good defender who will help Stanford in that department when he arrives on campus, combining with current freshmen Malcolm and Marcus Allen (they’re twins). And when 2014 rolls around Chasson Randle will be a senior, meaning that the Cardinal will have a primary scorer so as not to put too much pressure on the underclassmen.
Academics were an important part of the decision-making process for Cartwright, who chose to remain at Flintridge Prep for that very reason. “It’s a fantastic academic school,” Cartwright told Eric Sondheimer of the LA Times back in February. “The moment I stepped on here in seventh grade, I loved it. The teachers were wonderful, the kids were wonderful and I loved my coach.” And according to multiple outlets, once Cartwright received the go-ahead from admissions he was ready to commit to Stanford.
With Bright graduating in 2014 and Randle the following season, Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins needed another piece moving forward. With Cartwright on board, the Cardinal are well-positioned from a depth standpoint.
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 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?