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California’s Ricky Kreklow to transfer after graduating this summer

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After transferring in from Missouri in 2011, California shooting guard Ricky Kreklow hasn’t enjoyed the best fortune when it comes to injuries. In two seasons of play at Cal Kreklow missed a total of 35 games, including 24 during the 2012-13 season due to a broken foot. As a result of the injuries Kreklow (4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg in two seasons at Cal) wasn’t able to have the impact he hoped to upon his arrival in Berkeley.

With Justin Cobbs and Richard Solomon out of eligibility there was a chance for Kreklow to have a greater impact under new head coach Cuonzo Martin in 2014-15. However on Thursday it was announced that Kreklow will transfer, with the goal being to graduate this summer and as a result be eligible to play at his new school immediately.

While some would assume that the coaching change was the catalyst for Kreklow’s decision, he said that this wasn’t the case. And given the injuries, his father stated in an email to Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group that it’s been a tough two seasons as a result of those issues.

A 6-foot-6 wing, he also was asked to play inside at times because of the Bears’ shortage of post players.

“Been a tough couple of years for Rick with a broken foot, broken hand, broken nose, having to battle bigs down low,” Kreklow’s father Wayne said in an email.

Kreklow is the first member of the current roster to make the decision to transfer, with guards Jabari Bird, Tyrone Wallace and Jordan Mathews all on board at this time. Cal will also add two recruits in guard Ahmaad Rorie and center Kingsley Okoroh, with the latter being a needed interior body given the Golden Bears’ lack of depth in the front court.

Idrissa Diallo, who reopened his recruitment when Mike Montgomery announced his retirement, is still considering Cal as a possibility.

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
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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?