Reggie Johnson returned to action in the double-overtime win against FAU in the Orange Bowl Classic, putting in 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds with five blocks and five assists. Now, guard/forward DeQuan Jones will return as the Canes prepare to take on Charlotte on Thursday.
Johnson had sat out the first part of the season following surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his knee that he injured while playing pickup basketball in the offseason. The 6’8 Jones missed the early part of the year after the team suspended him for the season as the NCAA investigated claims that former assistant Jake Morton requested $10,000 from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to secure Jones’ commitment. Jones and his family have denied the allegations of the jailed liar, schemer, and manipulator.
The decision came as the school consulted the NCAA regarding Jones’ status. The university did not comment further “to protect the integrity of the ongoing joint inquiry,” according to a written UM release via the Miami Herald.
Johnson’s impact down low will be key for the Canes, who have missed his presence in the paint. Miami has struggled ahead of conference play, dropping four of the last five before Saturday’s win over the Owls. With Johnson down low and the versatile Jones providing more depth for the Canes, Miami is getting back two players thought in the preseason to be keys to the Hurricanes’ run at an NCAA tournament berth. And it’s coming just in time as the Canes begin ACC play early next month.
Johnson grabbed 9.6 rebounds per game last year, which was 28th in the country, and 11.9 points and 1.3 blocks per game. Jones saw action in 28 games in 2010, starting ten of them. He averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.
Miami opens ACC play on January 7 against Virginia in Charlottesville. They’ll take on Charlotte, Appalachian State, and UNC-Greenboro leading up to the Cavaliers.
Good News for NCAA Investigation?
The news is not only welcomed for the basketball team, it could been seen as a positive as the university faces possible sanctions from the NCAA. Defensive end/linebacker Marcus Robinson has already been cleared. The university is not offering details as to what led to Jones’ reinstatement, but something–or a lack of something–did. And in the face of calls for the death penalty from some in the national media, several current players alleged to have received illicit benefits were suspended for only one game.
Even as Ohio State was hit with sanctions that surprised some, the situations are not exactly the same. At OSU, the head coach sat on information that some of his players had sold memorabilia or traded it for tattoos, and then let them play. There are allegations of improprieties from former UM coaches, but there isn’t the smoking gun in the form of a damning email such as in former Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel‘s case.
That said, pictures, receipts, and corroboration was presented in the Yahoo! story that broke the news of the scandal, although we’re not sure what the NCAA’s been able to make of it all. It’s difficult to predict exactly what’s going to come of the investigation, but sanctions should be expected.