Tennessee v Xavier

Report: Tennessee’s Robert Hubbs III cleared for full-contact drills following shoulder injury

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Tennessee and new head coach Donnie Tyndall picked up some good news this week as rising sophomore shooting guard Robert Hubbs III was cleared to return to full-contact drills.

In a report with WBIR, Tyndall spoke about the return of Hubbs, who had season-ending shoulder surgery after appearing in only 12 games last season. Hubbs didn’t play last season after the Volunteers’ December 30th win over Virginia. Despite not playing in 2014, Hubbs appeared in too many games to garner a medical redshirt from the NCAA, as he played in more than 30 percent of Tennessee’s games last season.

“There was no soreness, there were no bumps along the way. Knock on wood he’s been good,” Tyndall said to WBIR.

The new coach went on to say that Hubbs has been through one full-contact work out already. The Volunteers were originally hoping to get Hubbs cleared by June 1st, but gave him some extra time as a precautionary measure.

Hubbs was a five-star prospect coming out of high school in Newborn, Tennessee but struggled to find his shot his freshman season as he averaged 5 points and 1.5 rebounds and 18.3 minutes per game. The 6-foot-6 guard only shot 30 percent from the field and 28 percent from the three-point line.

Although Hubbs struggled as a freshman, his return to Tennessee was huge for Tyndall with the first-year Volunteers’ coach losing so many players to transfer while also having to recruit an all-new spring recruiting class.

Tyndall is hoping that a healthy Hubbs finds his shot in his sophomore season as the shooting guard could be counted on for big minutes as one of the few holdovers from the Cuonzo Martin era.

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?