Now That Classes are Back
Outbound transfers and NBA (and other pro) Draftees are already noted, situations involving a recalcitrant recruit or two have been resolved. Between news reports of injuries and denied eligibility waivers, I have been looking through the early versions of team rosters and realized that a few of last season's players are missing in action apparently. Gone with no explanation, not even a note from the proliferating team blogs which every team in the conference can boast of now. I keep my fingers crossed there will be no new injuries. We are coming into that part of the preseason though, school is coming back into session, squads continue to play unsupervised pickup games. The changes are more gains than losses right now, though one or two are a little surprising.
Cincinnati -- 6-6 junior forward Rashad Bishop was re-instated quietly to the roster in preparation for the full practice to prepare for their Labor Day Weekend Tour of Canada.
Connecticut -- News that Ater Majok may not enroll this fall at UConn has spawned several waves of speculation (beyond the "official" reason) about the cause. Is the problem a possible connection to recruiting violations or perhaps, as suggested by a West Coast recruiting target, a lack of available scholarships due to penalties imposed after Connecticut's response (due Friday 9/3) is processed. At the very least, the rumors have triggered a row between several SB Nation Blogs. [Update] -- Majok has indeed withdrawn, making that announcement on September 1. The UConn apparently anticipated the move, having a 19 year old 6-6 German wing, Niels Giffey lined up and ready to go. Giffey will be the sixth freshman player to join the Huskies this season.
DePaul -- The Blue Demon roster does not list power forward Cleveland Melvin, a signee last May. No word on whether this was another change of heart or a slow Clearing House issue. Also missing is Ryan Siggins, a 6-1 walk-on guard who scored 39 points in 140 minutes of play last season. Siggins, who appeared in 10 games, had his best outing in a 31 minute run at Villanova. Siggins was one of four walk-ons added to the squad last October. Two others, Jimmy Drew and Joe Belcaster, are listed on the current roster, while the third walk-on, Nate Rogers, transferred after last season.
Louisville -- Coach Rick Pitino announced Memphis transfer Roburt Sallie and incoming freshman Justin Coleman will not be eligible to play for Louisville in 2011. Coleman, a 6-5 shooting guard out of Huntington West Virginia, regarded by some as Louisville's best prospect this season (ranked #50 by Scout, Inc.), did not get his transcripts through the Clearing House, and will attend classes at Marshall (located in Huntington, WV). Sallie, a fifth year guard who graduated from Memphis last spring, planned to pursue a Masters degree at Louisville. His waiver request (to play immediately) was rejected. No word on Sallie's plans.
Providence -- Coach Davis has been very busy in the late, late recruiting scene, as the Friars signed Lee Goldsbrough, a 6-9, 200 pound forward out of Newcastle, England, in late July, and 6-1 off guard Bryce Cotton from Arizona in the last days of August. Cotton, whose transcript was initially deemed "ineligible" by the Clearing House, was re-evaluated and cleared in the last days of the month.
Rutgers -- The Scarlet Knights added Robert Lumpkins, a 6-7, 215 pound fifth year players out of Washington DC via (for two seasons) New Mexico State. The S. Knights may be without JUCO guard Tyree Graham who will undergo surgery on his left knee in two weeks for a condition discovered during his physical examination last week in New Brunswick. Latest rumors suggest this is an ACL injury (Ugh, really sorry to hear this).
Villanova -- Announced that entering freshman wing James Bell will be sidelined with stress fractures in the tibia of both legs. The announcement did not specify a rehabilitation period or anticipate a return date.
West Virginia -- 7-0 center David Nyarsuk will not enroll at West Virginia this season. Nyarsuk did not get the qualifying score on his ACT, and will enroll and play instead for NAIA affiliated Mountain State University.
Assessing the Impact
While there is no mention of Bishop, either by the coach or in the media, he was nevertheless re-instated in time for the tour. His fall semester class enrollment was the clue I guess. The avowed aim of the Bearcats' Labor Day Weekend tour is to develop/assess the offense, and clearly Bishop has more than a deep rotation role to play in 2011.
DePaul needs players. If Melvin does not enroll and play, Coach Purnell has one less player to work with in 2011. And one less year to develop the kind of player he would like to see on the DePaul roster.
While Majok was not the impact player promised by the staff (and anticipated by the media and fans), his loss, should it come to pass, would mean a shallower, even less experienced Connecticut will take the court for the 2011 campaign. Majok's involvement with shady recruiting practices and the possible loss of scholarships are the 900 pound gorilla in this room however. Sanctions and penalties beyond the Connecticut-proposed curtailment of recruiting may prove to be more damaging than Majok's absence from the roster. News that Maurice Harkless, a 6-8 #3 who verballed to UConn and then decommitted last June (2010) will now commit to St. John's may be taken as a hint of things to come.
Returning only 50% of their minutes and (even worse) 43.5% of their scoring, both Coleman and Sallie were important, but perhaps for different reasons. Coleman is a scorer, someone the staff would have expected to provide points as Fall Practice starts up. Sallie would have added depth and experience to the back court, but would probably have been more a rotation player than a starter.
Coach Davis found two players who should fit his style of play. Cotton is most likely not a one-for-one replacement for the lost Joseph Young, but with a loaded back court and lack of size up front Goldsbrough may see moe court time initially.
Lumpkins started about 28 games over two seasons for New Mexico State. He will bring experience and depth to Rutgers. He should see playing time, but most likely not a starter. Graham is another story. Reputed to be a hard worker and prolific scorer, Graham might have been a team-friendly alternative to Mike Rosario. The announcement gave no (time) estimate about rehabilitation and return to play, feeding speculation that Rutgers fans may not see him until November of 2011. Best wishes on a speedy and complete recovery for Graham.
Villanova is loaded on the wing this season, Bell most likely would have logged about 100-200 minutes over a 30+ game season. The loss here is experience and practice time for Bell. Let's hope he has a complete recovery.
Nyarsuk will most likely see far more minutes as an impact player at Mountain State than he would have seen at West Virginia. He will team with former UConn wing Doug Wiggins this season, as Wiggins makes his third and final stop in collegiate ball at the NAIA school.