Steve Lavin

St. John’s adds another front court player to its 2014-15 roster

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With classes at many schools set to begin in short order, some college basketball programs are still going through the process of adding players to their 2014-15 rosters. One such team is St. John’s which on Wednesday announced the addition of 6-foot-9 forward Amar Alibegovic. Alibegovic, who played on Bosnia’s Under-20 team this summer, also played with Stella Azzurri’s junior team this past season.

“We are pleased that Amar has chosen to join our St. John’s basketball family,” St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin said in the release. “Amar has the skill, size and basketball intellect to help fuel our purposes as we continue to build our program into a sustainable winner.”

Alibegovic averaged six points and just over three rebounds per game for Stella Azzurri in 2013-14, and he’s been described by some as a “stretch four.” He’s also the third addition to the St. John’s program this offseason, and all three have the size needed to help the Red Storm in the front court with 6-foot-11 center Adonis Delarosa and 6-foot-8 forward Kevin Thomas being the other additions.

The Red Storm lost their top two rebounders at the end of the 2013-14 season, with JaKarr Sampson foregoing his final two seasons of eligibility to turn pro and Orlando Sanchez running out of eligibility. That left guard D’Angelo Harrison (4.9 rpg) and center Chris Obekpa (4.8) as the team’s leading returning rebounders, meaning the newcomers (especially Thomas) will be asked to help in this area.

St. John’s finished the 2013-14 season with a 20-13 record (10-8 Big East), losing to Robert Morris in the first round of the Postseason NIT.

Big South moving 2016 conference tournament

Cliff Ellis
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The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.

The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.

It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.

Virginia Tech could redshirt sophomore guard

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Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.

The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.

Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.

“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.

“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”

It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.