TaShawn Thomas

Houston’s Danuel House, TaShawn Thomas request scholarship release

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With the hiring of Kelvin Sampson as head coach, taking over for James Dickey, there’s optimism surrounding the Houston basketball program. Two of the players many hoped would help usher in a new era of Houston basketball are forward TaShawn Thomas and guard Danuel House, with the tandem being the Cougars’ leading scorers in 2013-14.

However neither has any interest in remaining at the school, with both making the decision that they want to transfer to another institution.

The problem for House and Thomas: their initial requests to be released from their respective scholarships was denied by the school, meaning that both will need to go through the appeal process in order to gain a release.

In a story written by Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, House had the following to say regarding the matter:

“They let transfers come in, they let one of my teammates get his release without any process or denial,” said House, who averaged 13.6 points this season and was Conference USA’s Freshman of the Year in 2013. “But when I asked for mine they denied my request. I felt that was unfair. Our university always speaks highly of integrity but they didn’t show any integrity to me. It’s like a hostage situation.”

According to the story guard Jaaron Simmons was allowed to leave the program without any complications last week, something that has both players understandably frustrated by the situation. Now House and Thomas will meet with a school committee and explain why they should receive a release, in hopes of providing a convincing enough argument (in the eyes of the committee).

Situations like this are no-win situations for the program. While there’s always the desire to hang onto talented players, denying them the right to be released from their scholarship and look for a better situation results in negative publicity more times than not.

Should House and Thomas win their respective appeals they’d be two of the best available transfers, with the latter being one of the best front court players in the American Athletic Conference in 2013-14.

Florida Gulf Coast’s Demetris Morant out 3-4 months

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Florida Gulf Coast redshirt junior forward Demetris Morant is expected to miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right shin, the school announced on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 4.5 points, 4.4 blocks and 1.3 blocks per game in 33 appearances (18 starts) for the Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

“This is obviously an unfortunate setback for Demetris, but it was a procedure that needed to be done,” Florida Gulf Coast head coach Dooley said in a statement. “We decided it would be best to have it completed now to hopefully get him back for A-Sun play. It’s an opportunity now for other guys to step up in his absence, and I have confidence they’ll get the job done.”

The Eagles have the top frontline in the Atlantic Sun, one that returns Marc-Eddy Norelia and Filip Cvjeticanin, a 3-point shooter who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery. VCU transfer Antravious Simmons becomes eligible in the second semester.

Florida Gulf Coast begins the 2015-16 season on Nov. 14 against Ohio.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.