Vanderbilt guard Eric McClellan suspended for remainder of season

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In his first season of eligibility after sitting out the entire 2012-13 campaign per NCAA transfer rules, Vanderbilt guard Eric McClellan was a pivotal figure in Kevin Stallings’ rotation. Through 12 games McClellan averaged a team-high 14.2 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Commodores, but he did not accompany the team to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday night for their SEC opener at Alabama.

On Wednesday it was reported by Jeff Lockridge of The Tennessean that a “violation of university athletic policy” has ruled out McClellan for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. According to a statement released by the school, McClellan is expected to be reinstated this summer. Unfortunately for Vanderbilt, McClellan’s suspension drops them down to just seven scholarship players.

“I want to apologize to my family, coaches, teammates, and the entire Vanderbilt community for my actions that have led to this suspension,” McClellan said in the statement according to The Tennessean. “I take full responsibility for what has happened. I look forward to returning to school this summer and of continuing my goal of earning a degree at Vanderbilt and playing basketball for this coaching staff and with these players.”

McClellan’s suspension leaves the Commodores with three double-digit scorers: senior forward Rod Odom (13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), freshman forward Damian Jones (10.7, 4.6) and senior guard Kyle Fuller (10.0, 3.9, 3.7 apg). That triumvirate scored 51 of Vanderbilt’s 63 points in their 68-63 loss at Alabama on Tuesday night, but it was the turnover count (16, compared to eight for Alabama) that made the difference.

Vanderbilt (8-5, 0-1 SEC) plays three of its next four games at home but it is a difficult stretch, beginning with Kentucky on Saturday. The other two home games are against Missouri (January 16) and Ole Miss (January 22), with a game at LSU (January 18) in between.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.