Ernie Kent will let flashy freshman point guard Trevor Dunbar play his game

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Washington State incoming freshman point guard Trevor Dunbar is certainly flashy. The 5-foot-8 lefty is a mixtape producer’s dream because he combines tremendous quickness with tight ball-handling and a flair for highlight-reel plays.

Just check out his senior year high school mixtape, it’s fun to watch.

But while mixtapes can build up hype and make a player look cool for the cameras, it doesn’t always equate to success at the next level.

New Cougars head coach Ernie Kent seems to be pleased with his new point guard, however, and the veteran coach will let the San Francisco-area native do his thing in the PAC-12.

In a recent story from Slam, Dunbar said that Kent compared him to some of his former small guards at Oregon that went on to have very successful PAC-12 careers, Tyquan Porter and Aaron Brooks.

“Coach Kent loved my game, and he didn’t want me to change anything about it,” Dunbar said in the Slam article. “He’s had a lot of success with smaller guards, and on a long phone call that we had, he brought up [Tajuan] Porter and Aaron Brooks (both of whom Kent coached at Oregon). I’ve watched Brooks on the [Houston] Rockets. It gives me hope for that next level.”

Dunbar had impressive numbers in his senior season, but small guards can sometimes have a tough time acclimating to the college game. Kent does have a track record of making successful guards, so it will be fun to see if Dunbar can have a productive and efficient career at Washington State. And if Dunbar can make some fun highlights while doing it? Even better.

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?