Maryland’s Charles Mitchell to play Sunday following heated sideline exchange with assistant

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Maryland’s 64-47 win over Virginia Tech on Tuesday night was full of positives, with one notable exception: sophomore forward Charles Mitchell did not play in the second half after getting into a heated exchange with assistant coach Scott Spinelli.

Head coach Mark Turgeon asked Mitchell to return to the locker room, with the forward returning to the bench halfway through the second half with special assistant Juan Dixon.

On Thursday it was reported by Daniel Martin of CSN Baltimore that Mitchell, whose status for Sunday’s game against No. 5 Virginia was unknown, will face no further punishment and is allowed to play. According to the report the player and head coach discussed the matter on Thursday.

The original meeting between Turgeon and Mitchell to discuss the issue was scheduled for Wednesday, but the head coach was on the road recruiting. Thus, the meeting was pushed to Thursday.

Mitchell has been a solid reserve for the Terrapins this season, posting averages of 6.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in nearly 19 minutes of action per game. However in the first meeting between the Terrapins and Cavaliers, a 61-53 Virginia win on February 10, Mitchell was relatively quiet with two points and five rebounds in 23 minutes of action.

Mitchell’s scored in double figures three times in ACC play, most recently posting consecutive 12-point outings in games against Duke and Wake Forest in mid-February.

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?