By Jon Rothstein
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SLEDGE GETS WAIVER AT IONA
I was driving on the 405 yesterday in Los Angeles when I received a call that Iowa State transfer Tavon Sledge was cleared to play this season for Iona, and I immediately came to this realization — the Gaels are more talented than they were last season.
Iona won’t have a dynamic point guard like Scott Machado to run their offense but they’re deeper and have more overall size in the back court and on the wings. Sledge should allow Momo Jones to move off the ball to shooting guard where he’s more comfortable and Sean Armand appears primed to become one of the better mid-major guards in America.
That trio along with perimeter newcomers Curtis Dennis, Tre Bowman, and A.J. English make the Gaels a legitimate threat to win the MAAC and reach the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season.
David Laury, who is arguably Iona’s most talented player will be eligible after the first semester. A 6-7 point forward, Laury has been compared to current Houston Rockets star Royce White.
UCLA coach Ben Howland said star freshman Shabazz Muhammad will be out two to four weeks with a shoulder injury he suffered in Wednesday’s practice.
“It could be two weeks but probably no more than a month,” Howland said from office in Westwood on Thursday. “It was a just a freak thing.”
Both Muhammad and fellow freshman Kyle Anderson have yet to be cleared to play by the NCAA.
UCLA will play an arduous non-conference schedule with games against Texas, Missouri, San Diego State along with a showdown against Georgetown in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center. Should the Bruins beat the Hoyas, they could eventually play top-ranked Indiana the next night in the event. The Hoosiers open the Legends Classic against Georgia.
Howland raved about freshman Jordan Adams, who could wind up being a pivotal piece for this group on the perimeter.
“He’s a welcome addition,” Howland said of the 6-4 Adams. “He’s a zone breaker with a really good feel. He’s got a high IQ.”
O’NEILL WAITING ON ORABY
USC coach Kevin O’Neill said he’s expecting to hear by next week if Rice transfer Omar Oraby is cleared by the NCAA to play immediately this season without sitting a year.
The 7-2 Oraby is a massive presence and O’Neill said if he’s cleared he plans to play Oraby alongside Trojans 7-footer Dewayne Dedmon.
Last season at Rice, Oraby averaged six points and 3.6 rebounds in 11.6 minutes per game.
Your thoughts on the Sledge waiver? Let us know in the comments below!