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.

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?