D1Circuit/Nike Basketball

Florida State lands its first 2015 verbal commitment

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After being one of the schools to fall short in their quest to land Donovan Mitchell earlier this month, Florida State is on the board in the Class of 2015. 6-foot-5 shooting guard Terance Mann, who attends Tilton School in New Hampshire, announced his decision to verbally commit to Leonard Hamilton’s program via Twitter on Wednesday night.

Florida State beat out Arizona State, Boston College, Indiana, Marquette and Rhode Island for Mann’s pledge, with the four-star prospect cutting his list to those six schools in early August. Basketball runs in the family as well, with Mann’s mother entering her first season as the head coach at Rhode Island. Danyia La-Force played four years of college basketball at Georgetown as well, helping lead the Hoyas to a Big East title and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1993.

As for the program Mann has decided to join next season, he’ll be another talented option for a perimeter that won’t lack for options. Both Aaron Thomas and Montay Brandon will have eligibility remaining in 2015-16, and the same goes for Devon Bookert, Xavier Rathan-Mayes and junior college transfers Kedar Edwards and Dayshawn Watkins.

In addition to playing at Tilton, Mann played his grassroots basketball for the BABC program and averaged 10.5 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest in Nike EYBL play. Scouts have praised Mann for his ability to break teams down off the dribble, and he’s a solid creator and defender as well. Should he become a more consistent perimeter shooter, Mann will be an even tougher matchup for opponents.

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?