Mo'ne Davis

Little League phenom has dreams of playing for Geno Auriemma

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The biggest story of this summer’s Little League World Series has been 13-year old Mo’ne Davis, a young woman who has pitched impressively in both the regionals and the LLWS for the Taney Dragons out of Philadelphia. Davis’ ability has resulted in improved television ratings for the Little League World Series and more people talking about the games than in years past. Yet even with her recent achievements, Davis’ long-term goal is to play for one of the most successful programs in women’s college basketball.

According to the Hartford Courant, Davis hopes to play college basketball at UConn for Geno Auriemma.

“I want to go to UConn and be the point guard on the basketball team. That’s like my dream and then go into the WNBA,” Davis told ESPN last week. “That’s for Geno. Geno has to know.”

Auriemma knows. A Philadelphia guy at his core, he reached out to Davis earlier this week, a phone call that left the girl speechless.

“It was really fun,” Davis said Tuesday of her conversation with Auriemma. “I was actually very shocked and surprised. He told me he was watching the games. That I should keep it up. And that I needed to get a couple of hits.”

Davis’ stated desire resulted in Auriemma giving her a phone call, which is permissible per NCAA rules due to the fact that she’s yet to reach the grade (ninth) that the NCAA uses to define a “recruitable prospect.” The two also share a connection to the Philadelphia area, with Auriemma and his family emigrating to Norristown, Pennsylvania (which is some six miles northwest of Philadelphia) from their native Italy when he was seven years old.

Davis’ latest appearance on the mound came Wednesday night, as she pitched just 2 1/3 innings in Taney’s 8-1 loss to Mountain Ridge LL (Las Vegas). Davis was removed from the game just before reaching the 50-pitch limit, meaning that she would be available to pitch in Saturday’s United States Championship game should Taney beat Jackie Robinson West LL (Chicago) on Thursday.

Per Little League rules a pitcher throwing between 36 and 50 pitches requires two calendar days of rest before they can reappear on the mound.

While the focus clearly remains on the task at hand for Davis and her teammates, her clear long-term ambition lies in another sport. Like past stars of the Little League World Series (Chris Drury, Sean Burroughs, etc.) it will be interesting to see what Mo’ne Davis can accomplish in the years to come.

h/t CBS Sports

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?