Fresno St Wyoming Basketball

Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson focuses on recovery, return to the court

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On September 3 Fresno State forward Braeden Anderson was involved in a car accident that left him with a displacement of his C-5 through C-6 vertebrae. Luckily for Anderson no damage was done to his spinal cord but the effects of the accident left him unable to swallow or eat for nearly two weeks, resulting in the 6-foot-9 forward losing a substantial amount of weight.

It’s unlikely that Anderson, who averaged 4.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in ten games last season, will see the floor for Rodney Terry’s Bulldogs this season but the fact of the matter is that the situation could have been far worse. In a story written by Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee, Anderson reflected on the crash while also looking forward to the future.

A future that will undoubtedly include a return to the court in 2014.

“I think the biggest thing that I’m taking away from this is that I’ve been through a lot of things in my life and this is just another thing that I’m going to get through,” said Anderson. “At the point of impact, that’s when I got lucky. The injury, it’s still a severe injury. But God still has a plan for me and he still has more things for me to do and I’m going to make a full recovery.

“There are not a lot of people who come away from this injury being able to move everything and with the doctors saying, ‘Hey, your neck is going to be stronger than 100% a couple of years from now.’ I’m just kind of holding on to that.”

Before the accident Anderson was a player more than a few expected to enjoy a breakout 2013-14 season in the Mountain West. Originally a Kansas signee in 2011, Anderson didn’t take the floor until January 2013 due to his being deemed a non-qualifier and subsequent transfer to Fresno State. With Robert Upshaw being dismissed from the program earlier in the summer, Anderson was expected to play a major role in the Bulldogs’ quest to improve their standing within the Mountain West.

But even with his inability to begin rehab until the holidays, Anderson’s dreams remain on the table. Doctors expect that he’ll be able to return to the court, and Anderson will continue to work towards his goal of attending law school.

“That’s definitely a big goal of mine — to get the most out of being a student-athlete and not taking for granted the opportunity to get your education,” Anderson told Kurada.

There’s a say that in every dark cloud there’s a silver lining, and that certainly seems to be the case for Anderson. He may not be able to help Fresno State on the court this season, but the situation could have been far worse than having to sit out a season.

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?