Markus Kennedy

Report: NCAA has notified SMU of allegations

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Problems continued to surface for Larry Brown’s SMU basketball program on Friday.

Hours after it was announced that sophomore guard Keith Frazier would miss the rest of the season due to academic issues, confirmed a report from ESPN‘s Jeff Goodman and Andy Katz that SMU had been sent a Notice of Allegations by the NCAA. The accusations include academic improprieties.

From ESPN:

One of the allegations involves sophomore Keith Frazier’s academics as issues began when he was attempting to become eligible prior to his arrival at SMU, according to a source familiar with the allegations.

Sources told ESPN that assistant coach Ulric Maligi’s involvement with Frazier before the player enrolled in SMU has been under investigation.

Maligi, the third-year assistant coach, left the team indefinitely on Monday night. The star recruiter also helped SMU land Emmanuel Mudiay before he elected to pursue a professional career in China.

Frazier, who was averaging 10.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, isn’t the first Mustang to have eligibility issues this season. Markus Kennedy was academically ineligible for the first half of the season. Justin Martin, the Xavier transfer, left the program on Tuesday to turn pro, however, ESPN reported that his decision also stemmed from academic issues.

SMU hosts East Carolina on Saturday evening at 4 p.m. The Mustangs currently hold a 13-4 overall (4-1 American Athletic Conference) record.

Markus Kennedy cleared to play immediately for SMU

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SMU received a boost to its lineup on Friday afternoon, as forward Markus Kennedy has been cleared to play immediately after missing the first semester for academic reasons.

Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was the first of several major media outlets to report the news via Twitter.

Last season, the 6-foot-8 Kennedy averaged 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds for the Mustangs. SMU ended up being the notable snub of the 2014 NCAA Tournament. In an effort to improve its non-conference slate, Larry Brown scheduled games against Gonzaga, Indiana and Michigan on the road, as well as a home contest against Arkansas. So far, the Mustangs haver suffered losses to the Zags, Hoosiers and Razorback with their best wings against Wyoming and UC Santa Barbara.

SMU had planned to have Kennedy and five-star freshman Emmanuel Mudiay in the lineup for those out-of-conference games. However, in July, Mudiay announced he’d head overseas instead, followed by news several months late that Kennedy was facing eligibility issues.

The addition of Kennedy is a huge lift for SMU, a program looking to get into the tournament for the first time since 1993. The American Athletic Conference has struggled as a whole with Cincinnati’s recent home win over San Diego State serving as the bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season so far. Kennedy gives SMU arguably the top big man in the conference.

SMU is 7-3 this season with an important non-conference game on Saturday on the road against Michigan. Kennedy will make his season debut against the Wolverines.

The Ten Most Important Midseason Additions

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Markus Kennedy, SMU: He’s not a transfer — Kennedy missed the first semester as a result of academic issues — but if he gets the grades he needs, Kennedy will be joining the Mustang lineup on Saturday against Michigan. He will be the best big man in the AAC, but will it be too late to turn the conference into more than just a one-bid league?

Jameel McKay, Iowa State: McKay will be eligible this week for the Cyclones. He’s a shotblocking presence and a front court athlete unlike anything that Fred Hoiberg has had in Ames, but on a team that’s built on spacing and having shooters at every position on the floor, how much of an impact will he really have?

Luke Fischer, Marquette: The former Indiana big man will be eligible for Marquette tonight against Arizona State, which is important for the Golden Eagles. They are in dire need of front court help.

Alex Murphy, Florida: Murphy never could find a spot in the Duke lineup, which is why he transferred out of the program last winter. Florida is dealing with all kinds of health and depth issues, and Murphy’s addition will help that. They take on Wake Forest in Gainesville on Saturday.

Jesse Morgan and Devin Coleman, Temple: Temple is just 6-4 on the season, but their back court depth will get quite a boost with the addition of Morgan (UMass) and Coleman (Clemson).

Trayvon Reed, Auburn: Reed began his Auburn career on Sunday, picking up four fouls in eight minutes. The 7-foot-1 top 100 recruit is talented and promising, but he’s still very much a prospect at this point. His impact this season will be minimal.

Eric McClellan, Gonzaga: McClellan will be eligible to play for the Zags on January 8th, and while adding a player that averaged 14.3 points in the SEC sounds, on paper, like a big addition, but there aren’t many minutes to be add in that perimeter. Kevin Pangos, Gary Bell Jr. and Byron Wesley will get their 25-30 minutes, and Kyle Dranginis and Silas Melson will be the first two off the bench.

Savon Goodman, Arizona State: Goodman flamed out at UNLV after he was arrested for breaking into a friend’s apartment and stealing shoes, money and video games. He’ll be eligible at Arizona State beginning tonight. He’ll add perimeter depth, but it likely won’t be a difference-maker for the Sun Devils.

George Marshall, South Dakota State: Marshall played a season and a half at Wisconsin before Trae Jackson took over the starting point guard roll. He’ll be eligible at SDSU on Thursday and should step into the starting point guard role for a team that is 6-3 overall and could win the Summit League.

Cam Biedscheid, Jacksonville State?: There’s a question mark there for a reason. Biedscheid has been all over the place, leaving Notre Dame midway through the 2012-2013 season before getting shipped out at Missouri. He was supposed to be headed to Iona, but that never materialized. The latest? A report saying he’s headed to Jacksonville State and will try to get eligible for this season. Biedscheid is a former four-star recruit and will be one of the best players in the Ohio Valley if he ever ends up playing there.

Report: SMU to be without top returning big for fall semester

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SMU enters the 2014-15 season looking to earn the program’s first NCAA tournament bid since 1993, and in all honesty Larry Brown’s group has the talent needed to accomplish more than simply getting into the 68-team field. One of the players expected to help in that mission is redshirt junior forward Markus Kennedy, who was one of the American Athletic Conference’s best front court players in 2013-14.

Unfortunately, according to a report the Mustangs will be without Kennedy (12.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.5 spg) for the remainder of the fall semester for academic reasons.

According to Jeff Goodman of Kennedy has been ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the semester. Last month there were concerns regarding Kennedy’s status, with the possibility of his missing time being discussed. Final exams for the fall semester at SMU conclude on December 17, with the Mustangs hosting UIC that night. Three days later SMU visits Michigan in what will be a pivotal non-conference game with regards to the Mustangs’ resume.

Not having Kennedy is a big blow for SMU to absorb, and it places even more responsibility upon the shoulders of senior center Yanick Moreira. Moreira struggled with health issues for a good portion of last season, but he rebounded this summer with a very good showing at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain playing for his native Angola.

In addition to Moreira, SMU returns senior center Cannen Cunningham and sophomore forward Ben Moore in the front court, with graduate transfer Justin Martin (Xavier) eligible to compete immediately. Unfortunately for SMU transfer Jordan Tolbert (Texas Tech) has to sit this season, and he would have given them another body to help absorb the hit of losing Kennedy.

SMU has pieces capable to help Brown deal with this personnel loss, and their perimeter depth will allow the Mustangs to play small at times if they so choose. But there’s no ignoring the fact that not having one of the American’s best players hurts SMU moving forward.

College Basketball Talk’s Top 100 Players: Nos. 100-81 #CBTTop100

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Report: SMU big man has work to do to be eligible for season

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SMU could be in trouble if an all-league performer from last year isn’t eligible for the upcoming season.

According to a report from Billy Embody of, junior big man Markus Kennedy is currently not up to eligibility standards. SMU head coach Larry Brown admitted that Kennedy has work to do in the classroom to see the floor this season.

“As of today, Markus still has some work to do to meet eligibility standards for competition this season,” Brown said to Embody. “SMU provides great resources for its student-athletes.”

Kennedy was a second-team All-AAC pick last season after averaging 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Mustangs. Brown said that Kennedy is working to get back on track.

“Markus is utilizing [SMU] resources and we expect him to continue to make the progress needed to regain his eligibility and get back on track to earn his degree,” Brown said.

If Kennedy is not able to play this season, Brown told Embody he is confident that SMU will be okay in the front court this season. Senior centers Cannen Cunningham and Yanick Moreira both return and sophomore forward Ben Moore is joined by transfer forwards Justin Martin (Xavier) and Jordan Tolbert (Texas Tech).

“Right now, nothing is final, as eligibility status can change at any point,” Brown said. “Either way, we have a very talented and deep group and are looking forward to the season.”

This is not good news for SMU and if they have point guard Nic Moore and Kennedy, they’ll be one of the top teams in the American this season. Without Kennedy, SMU can probably still put together enough talent to make a postseason run, but it would be difficult.