Quinnipiac is awaiting word on the eligibility of junior guard Giovanni McLean in-light of the recent academic scandal at Westchester Community College.
According to a report from Jon Alba of Q30 Television, the university is reviewing McLean’s academic eligibility in the wake of basketball players from Florida A&M and St. John’s being declared ineligible after the transcript scandal at Westchester.
“We are reviewing the matter and because of privacy concerns for the student, we will not make additional comments at this time,” university Vice President for Public Affairs Lynn Bushnell said in a public statement.
While the school currently won’t comment on the matter directly, it doesn’t look good that McLean will be ruled eligible after Jamell Walker and Damian Davis were ruled ineligible at Florida A&M and Keith Thomas wasn’t cleared at St. John’s. Westchester Community College is dealing with the fallout of fraudulent transcripts.
The 6-foot-1 McLean averaged 16.8 points and 7.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Westchester. The Bobcats were expected to be in the middle of the pack in the MAAC this season, but if McLean is ruled ineligible, their guard depth will take a serious hit.
UPDATE (11/3, 7:22 p.m.): According to Lee Higgins of The Journal News, the NCAA is reviewing McLean’s transcript and an additional statement was released by the school:
“The NCAA has issued a temporary waiver allowing Giovanni McLean to continue his studies at the university for the remainder of the fall semester,” said Lynn Bushnell, vice president for public affairs. “He is, however, prohibited from playing and practicing with the basketball team until the NCAA issues a final decision.”
With just a handful of MAAC regular season games remaining in 2014, it appeared the conference’s top three teams were Iona, Manhattan, and Quinnipiac. However, Siena upset what seemed to be the league’s natural order by defeating the Jaspers, 67-63, dropping Manhattan (13-4 MAAC) to third place and giving Jimmy Patsos his first premier win at the Loudonville-based school.
Steve Masiello’s team should have won this contest; any team that goes to the free throw line for 42 attempts likely should win, but the squad shot a woeful 45.2 percent from the stripe. Combined with a failure to defend the three-point line — the Saints made nearly 40 percent from deep, and Ryan Oliver, a 6-foot-3 guard whose only made 33 percent of his threes this year, converted two crucial bombs in the final minutes — and the Jaspers dropped a game it needed to win if only to keep pace with the Gaels. Manhattan’s final two tilts are against Iona and Canisius, and while both are at home, it isn’t as if the Jaspers can easily close out the rest of MAAC play.
As for the other top two, Iona was leading Rider by double-digits but a veil of disinterest covered the team, and turnovers and lackadaisical defense helped Rider cut the lead to just three before the Gaels pulled out the win. Now 14-2 in MAAC play, Iona hasn’t lost in more than a month, and are the clear favorite for the league tournament’s top seed. The league’s dark horse, though, is Quinnipiac (13-4 MAAC). Arguably the biggest surprise in their first MAAC season, the Bobcats aren’t a great defensive team, but what Tom Moore’s club does well, they really do it well — specifically, grab a ton of their own misses and limit opponents’ additional possessions. St. Francis PA transfer Umar Shannon recently rejoined the lineup, and he could be the difference when the conference converges in Springfield for the city’s final MAAC tourney. Shannon isn’t a threat within the arc but he has the automatic green light from the perimeter: in his first game back, a win against Canisius, Shannon made four of six threes.
Jim Calhoun, the coach who transformed Connecticut basketball from a decent program in New England to a true national power from 1986 – 2012, will be honored this evening.
Prior to Calhoun’s coming to Connecticut, the school had reached just two NCAA Tournaments since 1967, and were hardly contenders from a national perspective. In his 26 seasons at the helm, however, Calhoun led the Huskies to 18 NCAA Tournaments and three National Championships.
Many former players and coaches will be in attendance, along with avid Husky alumni and fans. During his tenure as coach, Calhoun sent nearly 30 players to the NBA.
Stanley Robinson spoke with Dave Borges of the New Haven Register, and called Calhoun a “father figure” for him.
It isn’t just players that excelled under Calhoun. Many coaches had their careers elevated as a result of assisting Calhoun. Names such as the aforementioned LaFleur (associate head coach at Providence), Moore (head coach at Quinnipiac), Steve Pikiell (head coach at Stony Brook), Kevin Ollie (current coach at Connecticut), Howie Dickenman (head coach at Central Connecticut State), and many others studied under Calhoun.
To give you an idea of just how big a ceremony this will be, Gavin Keefe tweeted out a picture of what Gampel Pavilion, the site of so many memorable moments for Husky basketball under Calhoun’s watch, looks like: