Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
John Riek has received a qualifying ACT score and he could be ready to play at Cincinnati when the Big East campaign begins.
“He did get a qualifying score,” said Riek’s adviser, Fatah Muraisi. “We hope he’ll be there [at Cincinnati] sometime in December.”
Riek may also take the TOEFL — the Test of English as a Foreign Language — because he received his high school degree overseas, but Muraisi said “that has nothing to do with the NCAA.”
The 7-foot-2, 240-pound native of the Sudan committed to Cincinnati in August.
He remains at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., rehabbing the knee he had surgery on in June for an ACL tear.
“He’s still down there,” Muraisi said. “He’s going to school at IMG and working his ass off and rehabbing. Two things he needs to be doing. Keep going to school and rehabbing.”
Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin previously told me he expected Riek to be ready in December.
“With John, we can’t really assess his knee until we get him on campus and our doctors can look at him and the progress of his rehab,” Cronin said. “All we can go off of is what we’re being told by the people with his rehab in Florida. And they say it’s progressing great. He looks good. We’ve been down to see him, and he looks good.”
In other Cincinnati news, the Bearcats lost freshman point guard Cashmere Wright to a torn ACL in his left knee.
It is the second year in a row the Bearcats have lost a key player to injury. Forward Mike Williams tore his Achilles’ tendon last year, robbing the Bearcats of a critical frontcourt player. They finished 13-19, but were projected to finish 11th in this year’s brutal Big East.
Without their projected starting point, All-Big East selection Deonta Vaughn will have to slide over and play the position at times. Vaughn, who averaged 17.3 points last year, had hoped to play off the ball.
“It would give me the ability to get more open shots and still be able to create offense for this team,” Vaughn said. “It would have opened up a whole lot for others, too. With me playing (the point), we’re going to see how other teams play us.”
Cronin says the offense doesn’t even require a point guard.
“We’re just not going to play with a point guard,” Cronin said. “Our offense is not going to have a point guard in it. It’s not going to matter who brings the ball up the floor for us. Our big guys can start our offense for us. We’re not going to ask one guy to become somebody they’re not.”
(The AP contributed to this report)
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.