SEC Tournament to be played in St. Louis in 2018, Tampa in 2022

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SEC commissioner Mike Slive announced two future locations for the SEC Tournament on Tuesday evening.

In 2018, it will be played in St. Louis, with Missouri, a university that joined the conference in 2012, as the host. In 2022, the tournament will shift to Tampa.

“Congratulations to St. Louis, the St. Louis Sports Commission and the great basketball fans in the city and our state for earning the right to host the 2018 Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament,” first-year Missouir head coach Kim Anderson said in a statement issued by the school. “It’s an honor to have the SEC Tournament hosted in our state’s footprint for the first time and I know fans from throughout our league will be treated to a first-class experience and a great week of college basketball.”

The 2013 SEC Tournament was played in Nashville before heading back to Atlanta this past season. Nashville will host the SEC Tournament for all other years until 2025.

Hakim Saintil commits to South Alabama

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Highly recruited 2013 guard Hakim Saintil has committed to South Alabama, he announced via his Twitter account on Sunday morning.

Saintil is a 5-foot-11 point guard hailing from Roselle Catholic High School in West Orange, NJ.

There was speculation that Saintil may do a post-graduate year and reclassify to the 2014 class, but he became very comfortable with South Alabama and the direction of the program under first-year head coach Matt Graves. Saintil told Adama Zagoria, “I felt comfortable over there. They are like a family and with the new direction of the program it was hard for me not to go there.”

Saintil was courted by a wide range of schools during his recruitment process, ranging from Cincinnati, South Carolina, and St. Louis to mid-majors such as Fairfield and Florida Gulf Coast among many others.

In March, Saintil spoke with about his recruitment by St. Louis:

Saint Louis is my style of play. They have recruited small guards in the past. They know how to develop them. I see some of myself in them…Outside the power conferences, it’s right there. It’s one of the best. SLU was probably the most underrated team in the country until people started noticing how good they were.

While Saintil is certainly right about the guard-play at St. Louis, his commitment to South Alabama demonstrates what he thinks about the direction Matt Graves will have this program headed in. Is there any doubt that Graves’ recent hiring of former Butler point guard Ronald Nored played a pivotal role in Saintil’s decision? If Saintil is looking to be developed as a point guard, there aren’t many young assistants out there that will do as good of a job as Ronald Nored.

A primary factor in Saintil’s commitment was the opportunity to play immediately, and he should be able to see early minutes for the Jaguars.

This is the second commit Matt Graves has received. In early May, Austin Karazsia committed to South Alabama.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Former Villanova guard Achraf Yacoubou to transfer to St. Louis

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Late last evening, Ben Weixlmann broke the news that Villanova sophomore guard Achraf Yacoubou will be transferring to St. Louis University.

This is a solid pickup for Jim Crews, who was recently hired full-time as the St. Louis coach (Crews was the interim coach for the 2012-13 season after college basketball legend Rick Majerus passed away). Yacoubou developed into a legitimate threat from the perimeter during his sophomore season connecting on 39.6% of his three point attempts (21-53)—13 percentage points better than his freshman season.

As a sophomore, Yacoubou averaged 2.9 points per game in 12.0 minutes of action, but saw his floor time evaporate in the latter half of the Big East schedule through the rest of the season. Yacoubou averaged just a shade above 14 minutes in Villanova’s first 25 games of the season, but saw a total of just 19 minutes in their final nine contests.

When he announced his decision to transfer in early April, his initial list of schools, according to Adam Zagoria, were Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and UNLV. A month later, Yacoubou narrowed the list down to Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, and St. Louis.

The guard from the Bronx, NY certainly doesn’t lack any confidence:

I averaged the highest 3-point percentage and field goal efficiency and was the best defensive player on the team and I also played well against Louisville and Syracuse and when I played 25 minutes I led the team in points and rebounds. But after the last Syracuse game I ended up averaging 12 minutes and I wanted to play more but I wasn’t.

With his minutes waning significantly as the season progressed, it is easy to see why Yacoubou wishes to take his remaining two years at another school.

Per NCAA transfer rules, Yacoubou will be required to sit out for the 2013-14 season, and will become eligible for 2014-15.

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Report: SMU targeting St. Louis’ Rick Majerus to fill vacant head coaching spot

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Jeff Goodman of is reporting that Southern Methodist has its sights set on a replacement for their vacant head coaching position: Rick Majerus.

Majerus, currently at St. Louis, has a career record of 517-215, spanning stints at Marquette, Ball State, Utah, and now with the Billikens. St. Louis finished 26-8 in 2011-12 and advanced to the Round of 32 in the NCAA tournament.

Tom Timmerman of is reporting that St. Louis has granted Majerus permission to talk with SMU.

The 64-year-old Majerus has had health issues, including a recent stint in the hospital in early March that he blames on carelessness in not taking his blood pressure medication.

He had a stent inserted into his heart in the summer of 2011 and has issues dating back to the late 1980s.

SMU will be joining the Big East Conference, which would give Majerus an opportunity to coach in a BCS conference for the first time in his long career.

The Mustangs finished 13-19 overall last season, including 4-12 in the C-USA and fired head coach Matt Doherty after six seasons.

Doherty had three players signed to play for the Mustangs next season, including seven-foot big man Blaise Mbargorba from New Jersey. The class also includes sharpshooter Brian Bernardi from Xaverian (N.Y.), the same school that produced NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_