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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
3-point shot: Replacing Festus Ezeli

By Andy Katz

1. Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli's six-game suspension to start the season for accepting a meal and a hotel room from an alumnus should be characterized as a mistake. It is not a trend by a player who has done everything right to get to this point. But the experienced Commodores' can absorb losing Ezeli early in the season. Vandy coach Kevin Stalling said he’ll look to Steve Tchiengang or Josh Henderson to replace Ezeli inside. Tchiengang is more than capable. The ‘Dores are loaded at the wings with Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins, but Ezeli offered up balance for the top-10 ‘Dores. He’ll be back against Xavier on Nov. 28. But his absence could help Texas in a potential matchup if the two teams meet on Nov. 21 in the Legends Classic at the Meadowlands. Vandy would need to beat NC State and Texas would need to take care of Oregon State in the semifinals.

2. Kansas coach Bill Self said the loss of freshmen forwards Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor “kills our depth.” McLemore and Traylor were declared partial qualifiers by the NCAA. Neither player can practice or compete in the fall, but they can practice in the spring. If they maintain their eligibility then they would be able to play in games in 2012-13. Kansas’ 2011 newcomer class was ranked No. 22 by ESPNU’s recruiting site. The four-player class is now cut in half with point guard Naadir Tharpe and power forward Braeden Anderson the remaining pair. The loss of McLemore and Traylor will put even more pressure on players like Loyola Marymount transfer Kevin Young, Travis Releford and Jeff Withey to stay on the court with Thomas Robinson when needed.

3. The NCAA Division I leadership council meeting on Oct. 13 produced some likely precursors for the men’s basketball recruiting calendar model that should go into legislation some time this year. Saint Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, NABC second vice president, said he expects them to be in place. The most significant changes would be working with your own players in the summer, cutting the July recruiting period from 20 days (two 10-day periods) to 12 days (three four-day periods Wed-Sun) and getting a few weekends in April back to recruit.