Kevin Stallings

Report: Vanderbilt lands commitment from 2014 SG Matthew Fisher-Davis

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With Kyle Fuller entering his senior season and leading scorer Kedren Johnson suspended for the entire 2013-14 season, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings needed some reinforcements on the perimeter. Earlier this summer the Commodores received a verbal commitment from shooting guard Wade Baldwin, and late Sunday evening it was reported by Evan Daniels of that Charlotte, N.C. shooting guard Matthew Fisher-Davis has verbally committed to the SEC school (subscription required).

The 6-5 Fisher-Davis, who attends Charlotte Christian, is highly regarded as a perimeter shooter and his recruitment gained momentum back in July. In addition to Vanderbilt, Fisher-Davis considered programs such as Georgia, Wake Forest and Virginia before making the decision to commit according to Jamie Shaw of the Phenom Hoop Report. Fisher-Davis took an official visit to Vanderbilt in late August, with Baldwin also taking an official to the SEC school that weekend.

Last season was a tough one for the Commodores, as key personnel losses from a team that won the SEC tournament in 2012 proved to be too much to overcome. Johnson’s 13.5 points per game are gone (as is leading rebounder Kevin Bright, who signed a professional contract to play in his native Germany), leaving forward Rod Odom (10.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Fuller (8.7, 2.3) as the team’s leading returnees from a statistical standpoint.

And with both players being seniors, the development of guards Eric McClellan and Dai-Jon Parker becomes an important aspect of the 2013-14 campaign. Both McClellan and Parker will have eligibility remaining in 2014, as will forwards Shelby Moats, Damian Jones and Luke Kornet with the latter two being freshmen.

Here are a few highlights from Fisher-Davis’ junior season at Charlotte Christian, where he averaged 17.2 points per contest.

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?