Karvel Anderson, Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn leaves Providence’s exhibition game with shoulder injury

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Kris Dunn joined Providence as a McDonald’s All-American, and was suppose to share a back court with Ricky Ledo last season. Unfortunately for Ed Cooley and his Friars that never happened. Ledo didn’t play a single game in a PC uniform, and even before Ledo was ruled ineligible, Dunn was sidelined with a shoulder injury that delayed his collegiate debut until mid-December.

Even without Ledo, Providence is expecting big things from a healthy Dunn in his sophomore season, as he teams up with senior guard Bryce Cotton, who led the Big East Conference in scoring last season at 19.4 points per game. However, Dunn may have suffered another setback. During Saturday night, in an exhibition game with Division III Rhode Island College, Dunn left midway through the first half after hurting the same shoulder that he previously injured, according to Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal.

“We’re just really nervous because it’s the same shoulder that he tore. He’s very, very sore. I’m worried about it,” Cooley said after the 97-65 win over RIC.

Dunn was taken to the locker room after he fell in front of the team’s bench. He made his return from the locker room in the second half, though he did not check back into the game. According to McNamara, Dunn was favoring his shoulder during timeouts.

The 6-foot-3 point guard underwent surgery on his right shoulder in the summer of 2012 to fix a torn labrum. He was able to appear in 25 games for the Friars in his freshman season, averaging 5.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Providence is an up-and-coming program under Cooley, who entering his third season. He brings back not only Cotton, but forwards Kadeem Betts and LaDontae Henton. The Friars also add newcomers Brandon Austin, a top-50 recruit, and Tyler Harris and Carson Desrosiers, who both sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Providence has the talent to surprise people in the new Big East, but in order to do that, Dunn needs to be healthy.

The Friars open the season at home on Friday night against Boston College.

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?