On Thursday ULM head coach Keith Richard made official the signing of former Illinois State forward Jamaal Samuel, giving the Warhawks another big man. Samuel, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 2.5 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game last season for Illinois State. Samuel played just over 11 minutes per game for the Redbirds, with his most productive outing coming in a win over Northern Iowa in early February.
Samuel made all five of his field goal attempts in that game, finishing with ten points, five rebounds and two blocks. That was the only game in which he reached double figures offensively, with his best rebounding performance (eight) coming in a win over Bradley on February 15.
Samuel will have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules, and he’ll have two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2015-16 campaign.
“Jamaal is a 6-9 kid with great length and a good skill level,” Richard said in the release. “He will benefit greatly from the year he has to sit out to comply with NCAA transfer rules. With added strength and experience, he will be a positive addition to our team in 2015-16.”
ULM loses two front court starters at the end of the 2014-15 season in small forward Tylor Ongwae and center Marvin Williams, with the former being the Warhawks’ lone double-digit scorer (16.1 ppg) a season ago. Samuel is ULM’s seventh newcomer this offseason, with four being junior college transfers.
ULM finished the 2013-14 season with a 10-17 record, going 7-11 in Sun Belt play.
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 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?