Wake Forest v Maryland

Former Maryland center Shaquille Cleare completes transfer to Texas

Leave a comment

Shortly after the end of the 2013-14 season three Maryland players made the decision to transfer, with one being sophomore center Shaquille Cleare. Cleare (3.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg as a Terrapin) played an average of 12.8 minutes per game in his two seasons in College Park, but the development many expected to see when he arrived on campus simply didn’t happen.

The hope now is that Cleare will be able to make greater strides at his next school, and on Thursday he announced that he’ll finish his college career at Texas.

While Cleare is a native of the Bahamas he attended high school in Texas so there is some familiarity between player and school (Texas also recruited Cleare while he was in high school). Cleare will have two years of eligibility remaining after sitting out the 2014-15 season, and that year spent practicing against the likes of Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh could prove beneficial.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes also has rising senior Jonathan Holmes and rising sophomore Connor Lammert in his front court, and outside of Holmes this group will have eligibility remaining when Cleare becomes eligible for game action in 2015. There’s also the question of where five-star 2014 center Myles Turner will attend college, with the Texan scheduled to announce his decision April 30.

Texas is one of the schools remaining on Turner’s list, with Duke, Kansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas A&M being the others. With Cleare not being eligible for game action and Texas still having an unfilled scholarship for the 2014-15 season, it’s tough to see Cleare’s commitment having a major impact on Turner’s decision.

h/t Inside MD Sports

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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?