Jim Boeheim

Syracuse freshman Chinoso Obokoh could lose year of eligibility due to NCAA issue

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Syracuse freshman Chinoso Obokoh didn’t play a single minute this past season, with the big man being redshirted by Jim Boeheim. The move was expected to save a year of eligibility for Obokoh while allowing the freshman to develop in practice agains the likes of Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita.

However it seems as if Obokoh won’t be preserving that season of eligibility, as it was reported by Donna Ditota of the Syracuse Post-Standard that he could lose a year due to an NCAA issue. That issue: his high school may have placed Obokoh in the wrong grade when he arrived at Bishop Kearney HS in 2010 after leaving his native Nigeria.

The school, citing his transcripts and grasp of the English language, classified Obokoh as a freshman. However according to the NCAA ruling he should have been a sophomore, meaning that Obokoh will lose a year of eligibility as a result.

The NCAA rule discourages athletes from reclassifying in high school to gain an extra year of high school competition and theoretically become more college-ready. SU coach Jim Boeheim said Obokoh did not play organized basketball in Nigeria.

“Basically, you only have a certain number of years and they’re saying when he came over here he was reclassified by the high school because he couldn’t do the work. But (the school) couldn’t do that,” Boeheim said. “They didn’t know that. And he didn’t know that. So he had an extra year (of high school).”

Syracuse has the option of appealing the decision, but according to the story that has yet to happen. So instead of four seasons of eligibility remaining, Obokoh will have just three beginning with the 2014-15 campaign.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.