In two seasons at the University of San Diego, 6-9 forward John Sinis averaged 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game for a program that has the look of a team primed to make a move in the WCC this season. Sinis won’t be around to see if a team led by guard Christopher Anderson and Johnny Dee can make good on that promise however, as it was announced by the school on Wednesday that the native of Greece has signed a professional contract with Greek club AGO Rethimno.
“After long consideration I made the difficult decision to leave my studies and college basketball to pursue my life’s goal and start my professional career,” Sinis said in the release. “I would like to thank USD from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to fulfill one of my dreams to play basketball in the NCAA, develop as a player and to be part of such a prestigious university like USD.”
Obviously the timing isn’t great if you’re San Diego, and head coach Bill Grier pointed out as much in the release. With leading rebounder Chris Manresa having graduated it was likely that Sinis would have been asked to do more in his junior season, and the same goes for sophomore Jito Kok (3.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and senior Dennis Kramer (4.2, 2.7). However it should be noted that Sinis spent a large portion of his time offensively on the perimeter, with 70 of his 118 shot attempts last season coming from beyond the arc. In his two seasons at USD 57.5% of Sinis’ shot attempts were three-pointers.
Losing a player at this point in the school year, while not ideal, does give coach Grier and his staff some time to figure out how much their rotation will be impacted before practices begin. But with the likes of Anderson and Dee back on campus, San Diego will be fine in 2013-14.
“It was always a goal of John’s to play at the highest level professionally in his home country,” Grier said in the release. “Obviously the timing isn’t great but I don’t know if there ever is good timing when you lose a player. His departure doesn’t change the top 8-9 players in our rotation, nor our excitement for the upcoming season. We wish John well as he starts a new phase in his career.”
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?