Big East Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Rutgers v Notre Dame

Rutgers junior guard Myles Mack expected to lead the way in 2013-14

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To say that the 2012-13 season wasn’t a smooth one for the Rutgers basketball program would be an understatement. Video of Mike Rice’s behavior in practices became public in the spring, resulting in his firing, the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti and four players deciding to transfer.

There are new leaders of both the athletic department (Julie Hermann) and basketball program now, with former Rutgers player Eddie Jordan grabbing the reins as the Scarlet Knights begin their lone season in the American Athletic Conference before moving on to the Big Ten. Jordan’s expected to be a stabilizing force for the program, but the fact of the matter is that he’ll need some help from the players who decided to remain at Rutgers.

One of those players is junior guard Myles Mack (13.6 ppg, 2.7 apg), who led the Scarlet Knights in scoring last season and is expected to do the same in 2013-14. And according to Matt Sugam of Mack’s become the team leader, albeit in a quiet “lead by example” manner.

“He leads by example,” senior forward Wally Judge said. “He comes in and he prepares just as hard as anyone else. He doesn’t look at it like ‘I’m the leading scorer. This is my team and I’m going to do this and do that.’

“He’s fitting in, but at the same time standing out. He’s a walking contradiction. I don’t know how to say it. He’s quiet, but his actions speak volumes.”

As Judge put it, Mack has “become more vocal without saying a lot.”

Rutgers has a chance to be competitive in the American thanks to the return of players such as Mack, fellow guard Jerome Seagears and forward Wally Judge, and the addition of transfers J.J. Moore (Pittsburgh) and Kerwin Okoro (Iowa State). Whether or not the Scarlet Knights make good on this depends on two areas: chemistry and stability.

Mack’s performance, both as a player and a team leader, will be one of the key factors for Rutgers in 2013-14, and in a way the Paterson, N.J. native can help shape the future of Rutgers basketball. Given the amount of talent the state’s produced over the years, it’s somewhat fitting that a native of the Garden State is being asked to lead the way.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.