Basketball Freed From APR Penalties

In the 2010-2011 season USA basketball had to play with a severe disadvantage. Because of historical APR issues, the program was docked two scholarships and weekly practice time. This, plus other issues, led to a disappointing season on the hardwood, but good times may be returning.

With the preseason loss of two players due to disciplinary reasons, the Jags had only nine scholarship players and less time to prepare for opponents. That loss of practice time may have also hindered the development of team cohesiveness and chemistry, a factor that undoubtedly contributed to the 12-16 record.

All that is in the past now. Thanks to a focus on academic performance, South Alabama has improved their score to the point that both the two scholarships and the practice time has been restored. Coach Ronnie Arrow, who inherited some of the APR problems that plagued the program, was already anticipating the return of the scholarships in recruiting this year as USA signed four junior college guards in the spring.

The question on many Jag fan's minds was the situation with Martino Brock and Allyn Cooks. Both players expressed a desire to transfer, but South Alabama would not give them a release until after their spring grades were in and it was determined their academic performance would not hinder the APR improvement efforts. While Coach Arrow could not specifically state that they had been granted the unconditional release they would need to receive a scholarship from another university, he did say that it seems highly unlikely that anything could happen to affect USA's freedom from APR penalties. This suggests that their grades are most likely high enough to allow the release.

Coach Arrow had a couple of other comments of interest to Jag fans. He said that the team is searching for one more player with there last remaining scholarship and they were looking for a "3", a big perimeter player. He didn't specify where they were looking, but he did say that there were several good high school and junior college players available who are just now getting their grades and, if they gain their college eligibility, would be nice additions.

Coach Arrow also said that he hopes to have a new assistant hired by the end of next week. They've narrowed it down to three candidates and have one more coming in for an interview. Coach Arrow said what he is looking for is someone who can recruit and has contacts in the right areas to help bring in players. He also stressed the need for a hard worker who can communicate with the players and can help motivate them to work together to win.

The news for USA basketball has been good this spring, a necessity after a poor season. With the good players signed and the APR situation dealt with, hopefully a qualified coach and a final impact player can round out a very productive offseason.

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