Junior forward Nick Jacobs won’t return to Alabama program

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Following a stretch in which Alabama dropped seven of nine games in the middle of SEC play, it was announced by head coach Anthony Grant that junior forward Nick Jacobs was taking a leave of absence from the program. Grant’s words cast some doubt as to whether or not Jacobs would play another game in an Alabama uniform, and sure enough the forward did not return to the team before the end of the season.

And on Tuesday it was announced by the school that Jacobs has been released from his scholarship and will no longer be a member of the program. Jacobs will have one season of eligibility remaining at his next school.

“We want to thank Nick for his contributions to our program the past three seasons,” Grant said in the school release. “We wish him success with the next chapter of his career.”

Jacobs averaged 8.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 25 contests last season, and for his career the 6-foot-8 forward posted averages of 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Alabama returns leading rebounder Rodney Cooper (7.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg) and fellow forwards Shannon Hale (8.8, 3.6) and Jimmie Taylor (3.0, 3.3) from last season’s team, which finished with a 13-19 record (7-11 SEC).

As part of its incoming recruiting class Alabama will add freshmen Jeff Garrett and Riley Norris in the front court, and they’ll also have the services of Longwood transfer Michael Kessens. Kessens averaged 13.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his lone season at Longwood, where he earned Big South All-Freshman Team honors.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.