Anthony Clemmons, Kevin Ferrell

Anthony Clemmons sits out Iowa’s exhibition victory with ankle injury

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In their lone exhibition game before opening the season against UNC Wilmington on Friday night the Iowa Hawkeyes coasted past Augustana (Ill.) by the final score of 87-65. Zach McCabe and Aaron White led the way offensively for Fran McCaffery’s team with 16 points apiece and sophomore center Adam Woodbury posted a double-double, accounting for ten points and 11 rebounds.

But the Hawkeyes didn’t have all hands on deck, as sophomore point guard Anthony Clemmons sat after injuring his ankle in practice on Friday. Clemmons, who averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 assists per game last season, sat as a precautionary measure with McCaffery stating after the game that he would have played if there were a need for him to go according to John Bohnenkamp of the Burlington (Iowa) Hawk Eye.

McCaffery expects him to play in Friday’s opener against UNC-Wilmington.

“He’ll be good,” McCaffery said. “He was still a little bit swollen, a little bit sore today. If he had to, he could have gone. It wasn’t worth pushing it.”

Iowa doesn’t lack for options when it comes to who initiates their offense, with sophomore Mike Gesell (five assists on Sunday) and senior Devyn Marble (15.0 ppg, 3.0 apg in 2012-13) both having experience at the position. If all their key players remain healthy, the Hawkeyes have the pieces needed to make a run at an NCAA tournament berth after winning 25 games and reaching the title game of the Postseason NIT last season.

Iowa’s toughest non-conference games won’t come until the latter portion of November, as they host Penn on November 22 (Fran McCaffery’s alma mater) and then play in the Battle 4 Atlantis the following week. Iowa opens that event with Xavier, followed by either Tennessee or UTEP with both Kansas and Villanova on the other side of the bracket.

Iowa also has non-conference games against Notre Dame (December 3) and Iowa State (December 13) before opening Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve against Nebraska.

Skal Labissiere has not been cleared by the NCAA

Kelly Kline/Under Armour
Kelly Kline/Under Armor
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While the timeline surrounding Cheick Diallo’s eligibility has made headlines for months now, another elite recruit at a blue blood program is still awaiting word on whether or not he will be allowed to play college basketball this season.

Kentucky center Skal Labissiere, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2015 and a potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has not yet been cleared to play this season. His guard, Gerald Hamilton, confirmed as much to ESPN earlier today.

“Not yet,” Hamilton said. “We’re just trying to get everything squared away. They are asking a few questions.

“They haven’t cleared him, but we’re sticking with our faith. There’s no real concern about anything from the Kentucky compliance people.”

Labissiere has more red flags than you can count, almost all of them pertaining to Hamilton. It was the worst kept secret in high school basketball that Hamilton more or less had Labissiere for sale. It’s why he played three different AAU programs and two different high schools in four years. Hamilton runs a non-profit called Reach Your Dream and, after a transfer rendered him ineligible for his senior high school season, Labissiere played for a team called ‘Reach Your Dream Prep’, which Hamilton founded simply to ensure Labissiere had a place to play.

Here’s how summarized things back in November:

Multiple coaches who have recruited Labissiere told Hamilton either directly indicated or strongly suggested pursuing Labissiere would mostly be a waste of time if they couldn’t offer assistance in helping fund his foundation. One coach from a prominent staff said: “We couldn’t even get in the door.” Another added: “We recognized what it was about early on and decided not to get involved.”

In other words, no one is surprised that the NCAA is looking into Labissiere’s situation, and it’s not hard to look at Kentucky bringing in Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard as a sign that they’re not completely certain that Labissiere will make it through this. The surprise is in how quiet that investigation has been over the course of the last few months.

The shame in all of this is that Labissiere is a sweet kid with an incredible back-story. He survived the devastating earthquake in Haiti despite having a house collapse on him. If he can get through this investigation, he’ll easily be one of the biggest and most likeable stars in the sport this season.

Xavier commit to enroll early, redshirt

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Xavier landed a commitment on Wednesday from four-star big man Eddie Ekiyor, a source confirmed to

Ekiyor, who picked the Musketeers over Miami and Florida, is a borderline top 100 recruit. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 post that shouldn’t have an issue adjusting to the pace and physicality of the game, although he needs to continue to develop offensively to be more than a catch-and-dunk big man down the road.

In other words, on paper, Ekiyor isn’t much different from the majority of high major big men. But what’s different about this situation is that Ekiyor will be enrolling at Xavier for the start of the spring semester, technically making him a member of the Class of 2015. Xavier won’t be rushing him through the process — he’ll redshirt the second half of the 2015-16 season — but getting him on campus early will allow him an extra six months of learning the Xavier system, developing in collegiate practices and working out with the Xavier strength coaches.

That should help him limit the adjustment phase as he transitions from high school. That’s important for the Musketeers, because there’s a chance that they could lose their starting front line — James Farr (graduation) and Jalen Reynolds (early entry) — after this season.