Kuran Iverson

Memphis freshman Kuran Iverson suspended one game by NCAA

Leave a comment

In one of the rules that tends to rankle more than a few feathers, college basketball players are allowed to play in just one officially sanctioned summer league. Memphis freshman Kuran Iverson became the latest to run afoul of that rule, and as a result he will miss the Tigers’ regular season opener against Austin Peay on November 14.

Iverson’s transgression: playing in both the Memphis-based Bluff City and Greater Hartford Pro-Am leagues over the summer. Iverson’s a native of Hartford, Conn., which explains why he played in the league based in nearby Waterbury, Conn. (the trip from Hartford to Waterbury takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes by car, in case you were wondering).

The rule limiting players to “one team in one league” has been around for a while now, and while it can be debated why such a rule still exists the fact of the matter is that the membership has left it in place.

Iverson will be able to play in Memphis’ exhibition game on November 8, with his first regular season action coming ten days later at Oklahoma State. The Tigers will be fine from a depth standpoint given the many options head coach Josh Pastner can turn to on the wings (seniors Chris Crawford and Geron Johnson, sophomore Damien Wilson and freshman Nick King are four), and their overall depth is expected to make Memphis a contender in the American Athletic Conference.

Surely Memphis would want to have Iverson available, but this suspension is a minor nuisance more than anything.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?