(Brewster Academy)

Who’s left?: The best available high school basketball recruits

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Although we’ve hit the month of May and the late signing period will come to a close on May 21st, there are still plenty of talented, unsigned high school basketball prospects that are available for the 2014-15 college basketball season. Many of these players were released from a National Letter of Intent after a coaching change but now they have the option of looking elsewhere and finding a new program to play for.

WHO’S LEFT?: College Basketball Transfers | Junior College Transfers

Think that this list is littered with picked-over players? Think again. Six of the eight players on this list are among Rivals.com‘s top 150 in the 2014 national class, so there are still plenty of impact players left to be had.

Here’s a look at some of the best players that are still available:

1. Larry Austin: The 6-foot-1 point guard from Springfield Lanpher High School in Illinois is ranked No. 117 in Rivals.com‘s 2014 national rankings and was released from his NLI from Tennessee earlier in April. Sources told NBCSports.com that Austin will visit Xavier this weekend and Butler, Cal, Creighton, Georgetown, Kansas State and Providence have all shown varying degrees of interest.

2. Phil Cofer: A 6-foot-8 forward and former Tennessee commit, Cofer was recently released from his Letter of Intent but Rivals.com‘s No. 120 player in the 2014 national class might be willing to stay a Volunteer. Cofer met with new Tennessee head coach Donnie Tyndall on Tuesday, according to multiple reports, and the Georgia native has upcoming official visits to Florida State and Virginia Tech the next two weekends and is also getting interest from Georgia Tech and Memphis, according to Rob Lewis of Volsquest.com.

3. Jordan Cornish: A 6-foot-6 shooting guard and another former Tennessee commit — sense a patten here? — Cornish re-opened his recruitment and is looking at Nebraska SMU and Wake Forest. The Louisiana native is scheduled to visit Wake Forest this weekend and will visit Nebraska the following weekend before finishing up at SMU, according to NOLA.com’s Andrew Lopez.

4. Shelton Mitchell: The 6-foot-3 point guard from Oak Hill Academy is the No. 76 overall prospect in Rivals.com’s 2014 national rankings and recently got his release from Wake Forest. Not much is known about Mitchell’s updated recruitment, but Oak Hill Academy head coach Steve Smith said Mitchell will likely stay away from Wake Forest and the ACC.

5. Tariq Owens: The 6-foot-8 former Ohio commit is a very hot commodity as schools from all over are trying to get the Maryland native on campus. Evan Daniels of Scout.com reported on Thursday that Owens has unofficial visits to Temple (May 2) and Seton Hall (May 9) lined up while UT Martin has an official visit scheduled for May 13. Tennessee and Dayton are also still involved with Owens as well. UT Martin may appear to be the little guy in this recruitment, but the Skyhawks recently hired former Ohio assistant coach Anthony Stewart as associate head coach and Stewart helped recruit Owens to Ohio.

6. Ahmaad Rorie: The 6-foot scoring point guard and former Cal commit is the newest member of the Uncommited Club after deciding late this week to re-open his recruitment. Rorie transferred back to Lincoln High School in Washington this winter after spending the first half of the year at Montverde Academy and Lincoln High School coach Aubrey Shelton told Todd Miles of The News Tribune that Rorie would look at Pac 12 schools and set some visits. Keep an eye on Washington in this one. Combo guard and fellow high school senior David Crisp is a Huskies’ commit and Crisp is a cousin of Rorie’s and the two formed the starting backcourt for the Team Bradley grassroots program. Rorie is the No. 116 ranked player in Rivals.com‘s 2014 national rankings.

7. Elijah Stewart: The 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Los Angeles had a big senior season and the former Loyola Marymount commit now stands as Rivals.com‘s No. 64 player in the 2014 national class. According to ESPN.com‘s Joel Francisco, Cincinnati will get a visit this weekend while Boston College, Oklahoma State, Pitt and USC are all involved. Stewart plans on visiting each campus before deciding.

8. Jared Terrell: The 6-foot-3 guard is the No. 66 overall prospect in Rivals.com’s 2014 national rankings and recently received his release from Oklahoma State. Terrell has yet to put out any sort of list, but Boston College, Providence and Rhode Island are getting a lot of local buzz thanks in-part to Brewster Academy head coach Jason Smith naming those three schools with Terrell. Rhode Island was the runner-up last time, but they’ve since taken a commitment from guard Jarvis Garrett and assistant coach Preston Murphy — Terrell’s lead recruiter — has been hired at Boston College in the same position. Providence was also involved for Terrell in the fall but now more playing time looks available after another shoulder injury to Kris Dunn and the loss of Brandon Austin.

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?