Connecticut moved to 2-0 on the young season as the No. 19 Huskies got past Yale 80-61 during Monday afternoon’s nonconference clash.
But while its nice the Huskies are 2-0, Shabazz Napier recording the 10th triple-double in Connecticut history is the real story. Napier finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for UConn and the senior guard will carry the Huskies this year.
UConn will get other contributions in the scoring column from Ryan Boatright, Omar Calhoun and DeAndre Daniels, but Napier will always be the model of consistency when the Huskies need to depend on someone to play a big game.
Daniels is once again playing inconsistent ball and had 0 points against Yale in 18 minutes on 0-for-5 shooting while only registering one rebound. The junior 6-foot-8 forward needs to be better if UConn is going to compete in the American and make a Tournament run after the one year ban on postseson play.
Napier can thankfully get them over the hump with his all-around efforts and Boatright and Calhoun can also get hot quickly.
It also helps when UConn gets bench help from senior forward Niels Giffey. The 6-foot-7 Giffey was 5-for-6 from behind the three-point line off the bench and if he can come in and knock in some shots and space the floor it will definitely help UConn’s inexperienced second unit.
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 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?