Anali Okoloji, Matt Thomas

Report: Former George Mason forward Anali Okoloji headed to Eastern Michigan

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With three members of his front court rotation from a season ago out of eligibility, Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy has added a body to his front court for the 2014-15 season. As reported by Adam Zagoria, former George Mason forward Anali Okoloji will transfer to the Mid-American Conference school for his final season of eligibility.

Okoloji played in just 17 games as a redshirt junior, posting averages of 2.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in eight minutes of action per game. After playing double-digit minutes in games against UMass, Rhode Island and Fordham in mid-January, Okoloji played a total of four minutes the remainder of the season.

Okoloji scored seven points in three different games last season, with the last effort coming in the Rhode Island game mentioned in the previous sentence.

This is the second transfer for Okoloji, who began his college career at Seton Hall. On course to complete his undergraduate coursework, Okoloji will be eligible immediately for Eastern Michigan.

The Eagles, who finished last season with a 22-15 record (10-8 MAC), lost Glenn Bryant (9.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 bpg), Daylen Harrison (5.5, 3.9) and DaShonte Riley (4.2, 6.0, 2.6) from their front court rotation. 6-foot-8 Jordan Nobles is the lone front court signee for Eastern Michigan, and 6-foot-11 Lekan Ajayi averaged 0.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 10.3 minutes of action per game a season ago.

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?