While Iona received the good news that Iowa State transfer Tavon Sledge would be eligible immediately on Thursday, another MAAC contender wasn’t as fortunate.
The NCAA ruled that Ashton Pankey’s eligibility waiver was not granted, meaning that the Manhattan forward would have to sit out the 2012-13 season after transferring in from Maryland.
In 32 games at Maryland last season Pankey averaged just 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, but he had a chance to be an impact player for the Jaspers in their quest to win the MAAC.
And even though Steve Masiello’s team can still go 10 or 11 players deep as one of the favorites to win the conference, having Pankey’s waiver denied is a bitter pill to swallow.
“It’s not the news we were hoping for,” Masiello said to Sean Brennan of the NY Daily News.
“But we’re going to pursue an appeal. Obviously we were hopeful for a better outcome. But I’ve been here before while I was at other institutions where I’ve seen waivers denied and then go the other way on appeal. So it’s not over yet.”
The Jaspers return Emmy Andujar, Rhamel Brown and Roberto Colonette when it comes to key front court contributors in 2011-12, when they won 21 games in one of the biggest turnarounds in college basketball.
Sophomore Ryan McCoy averaged just over nine minutes per game in 2011-12, and the other two front court players (Adam Lacey and Shane Richards) are both freshmen.
Given the skill of Andujar, Brown and Colonette and a very good perimeter led by junior George Beamon, Manhattan will still be one of the favorites in the MAAC.
But if Pankey’s appeal is upheld the Jaspers become an even tougher out in what will be a highly competitive title race.