Saturday, August 28, 2010

Louisville loses Roburt Sallie and Justin Coleman; UConn and Villanova also take a hit

Louisville got some bad news on Friday.

The Cardinals announced that neither Roburt Sallie or Justin Coleman will be joining the team this season. Sallie, a 6'5", 25 year old sharpshooter that spent the last two seasons at Memphis, was trying to take advantage of a rule that allowed students to enroll in graduate school at a different university without having to sit out a year. But "due to the timing requirements of meeting the matriculation deadline for graduate school."

As far as Coleman is concerned, the 6'5" wing, who spent last season at Huntington Prep, was unable to qualify academically.

With Edgar Sosa, Jerry Smith, and Reginald Delk both graduating, there is a big hole on the Cardinals perimeter. Peyton Siva should slide comfortably into the starting point guard role, and Preston Knowles, who has been fully reinstated to the team after some offseason off-the-court trouble, will likely start at the off-guard. That means that sophomore Mike Marra and junior Kyle Kuric (he of the unforgettable 22 point performance against Syracuse) will see quite a bit more time.

The question now is how much does this loss hurt the Cardinals. Sallie was expected to start, Coleman likely would have been the first perimeter player off the bench. But Kuric and Marra both showed the potential to be above average Big East players. Also expect Jared Swopshire to now spend more time playing the three.

Louisville was a borderline NCAA Tournament team with Sallie and Coleman, and while their loss puts a damper on the depth Pitino will have in his back court, it probably doesn't kill their tournament chances.

Louisville isn't the only Big East team that took a hit.

It looks like UConn will now be playing without Ater Majok. Majok was a big time recruit, but it took him a long time to get cleared by the NCAA, finally getting cleared midway through last season. He declared for the 2009 NBA Draft, after sitting out that entire season, but withdrew and was finally declared eligible in December.

Majok, who would be a 23 year old sophomore, had little to no impact on the Huskies. It was obvious the potential was there, but it would take 6'10" Sudanese native a while to grow into that potential.

According to the Hartford Courant, it is likely that Majok will be headed back to Australia, where he played his high school ball, to begin his professional career.

Its tough to hate on this decision. If he does decide to become a professional, he will be doing it to support his family.

And then there is Villanova's James Bell. Bell, a four-star freshman, has stress fractures in both of his tibias. It is unknown how long he will be out.

With the loaded perimeter that Jay Wright has this season, it was unlikely that Bell would have started. But, when he returns, Bell will provide depth and compete for minutes with the likes of Dominic Cheek, Corey Stokes, and Corey Fisher.

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