The Secondary Break: Thursday’s Links

Leave a comment

Utah, Kansas to meet next season in Kansas City (Utah Athletics)
On Wednesday it was announced that Utah and Kansas will meet on December 13, 2014 in Kansas City. While this may not be a significant boost for the Jayhawks it is for Larry Krystkowiak’s program, which didn’t put together the strongest of non-conference schedules this season.

Willie Cauley-Stein’s “sickle cell problem” (Louisville Courier-Journal)
Kentucky center Willie Cauley-Stein put together yet another solid performance in the Wildcats’ win over Boise State on Tuesday night, finishing with six points, seven rebounds and nine blocked shots. And he did so playing at less than full strength due to a medical condition few knew about prior. Cauley-Stein disclosed that he has the sickle cell trait, which at times has resulted in “bad chest pain.”

Trenton Catholic Academy’s Malachi Richardson ready to announce college choice (Trenton Times)
Top 25 2015 guard Malachi Richardson (Trenton, N.J.) announced on Wednesday that he will announce his college choice on Friday afternoon, picking one of the six schools on his final list. In the running for the 6-foot-5 Richardson’s services are Syracuse, Indiana, Villanova, Arizona, Connecticut and Rutgers.

Northern Arizona, Grand Canyon begin potential rivalry Saturday (Arizona Daily Sun)
On Saturday afternoon provisional Division I member Grand Canyon will visit Northern Arizona, with the two schools playing for the first time in 26 years. While this may not move the needle much in a state dominated by Pac-12 rivals Arizona and Arizona State it is an important game for both GCU and NAU, as both programs look to establish themselves within the state.

College Basketball Caucus: The most surprising team in the country? (USA Today)
A group of selected college basketball scribes have taken in the question of who’s the most surprising team in the country to this point in the season, with both Villanova and Wisconsin among the schools mentioned.

How do college basketball’s elite freshmen compare to former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony? (Syracuse Post-Standard)
One of the first names that comes up when discussing successful one-and-done players is that of former Syracuse star Carmelo Anthony, who in his one season at the school helped lead the Orange to their lone national title. With this being the case, Mike Waters of the Post-Standard took a look at this year’s crop of freshmen with an eye towards how their debuts compare to that of Anthony.

Ex-N.C. State coach Lowe pleads guilty to tax charges (Sports Illustrated)
Former N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe pleaded guilty to charges of failing to file his North Carolina tax returns on Wednesday, with the state alleging that he did not file from 2009 to 2011. As part of his sentence Lowe received a suspended 45-day jail sentence, 100 hours of community service and he’ll have to pay $79,000 in restitution and a $2,000 fine.

2015 center Deyonta Davis verbally commits to attend Michigan State (
On Wednesday Michigan State added a recruit to its 2015 class as 6-foot-9 center Deyonta Davis (Muskegon, Mich.) verbally committed to attend the Big Ten school. Davis, who picked the Spartans over the likes of Iowa State and Memphis, stated that the school’s closeness to home factored into his decision.

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?