Towards the end of the 2014 season, UNLV’s Jelan Kendrick, the Memphis transfer via junior college, began to earn more minutes during Runnin’ Rebels games. In a loss to Nevada, Kendrick played 33 minutes and scored 16 points, and in another loss (to San Diego State) two games later, Kendrick again used more than 30 minutes. The pedestal was set for a breakout senior season, one where Kendrick would likely receive more playing time due to transfers and players declaring for the NBA draft, but Kendrick may not be on the UNLV roster in 2015: the wing is set to graduate by summer’s end and is deciding whether to use his fifth season at the MWC program.
Coach Dave Rice has already lost Bryce Dejean-Jones (to transfer) and Roscoe Smith (to the NBA draft), and there is a chance that, along with Kendrick, Khem Birch might take his game beyond Las Vegas’ city limits in 2014-15.
The UNLV coaching staff is assuredly not done on the recruiting trail — there have been reports that Ryan Miller, replete with ties to the California recruiting scene, has been offered a spot on the UNLV staff — and even if Kendrick and Birch return, there could be a few new bodies who’ll join the team in the coming weeks.
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?