Tony Bennett signs a seven-year deal with Virginia

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Tony Bennett has signed a new, seven-year deal with the University of Virginia, keeping him on the sidelines through the 2020-2021 season, the school announced on Tuesday.

Bennett’s base salary and supplemental compensation will bumped up to $1.9 million.

Virginia won both the ACC regular season and tournament titles while earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Bennett was also named ACC Coach of the Year.

“I’m thankful for receiving this new contract,” Bennett said in a statement. “I love coaching at the University of Virginia and living in Charlottesville where the community has been wonderful to my family. I feel we are building something special here and this commitment by the University is another great step towards ensuring we continue to compete at a high level.”

In five seasons in Charlottesville, Bennett has compiled a 106-60 record. This past season, he led the Cavaliers to their first 30-win season since 1981-1982 and the team’s first Sweet 16 berth in 19 years.

“We are pleased with Coach Bennett’s commitment to the University of Virginia,” Director of Athletics Chris Littlepage added. “Tony believes in the goals of the athletics department and the mission of the University. The vision he had for our program when he accepted the head coaching position is developing according to his plan. It will be exciting to watch the development of our players and the program in the coming years.”

Virginia’s success looks to roll over into the 2014-2015 season. Despite losing Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell, the majority of the rotation is back headlined by Justin Anderson, Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill and London Perrantes. The Cavaliers will not only be viewed as a preseason contender in the ACC, but also be considered a top-10 team nationally.

Bennett took over the program in 2009 following three seasons at Washington State.

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?