Adonis De La Rosa, 7' 0" freshman, is eligible to practice and play for now but Steve Lavin will not play the big man until his appeal process is finished.
"We're going to continue to be conservative until there is certainty on the outcome but as of today his status has been changed," Steve Lavin said today. "We're in a much better place than we were 48 hours ago. It's good news."
Lavin said that De La Rosa will be dressed and will be with the team on the bench Friday night. But expect Lavin to be cautious with the big man.
On Tuesday, the NCAA ruled Adonis as ineligible because of issues with his SAT scores. According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, De La Rosa was back at Christ the King Wednesday to receive a letter proving that he took his SATs on graduation day in June. He then appealed the NCAA's decision.There is no timetable on the NCAA ruling on this matter.
If De La Rosa is able to return to the court, that would be huge for the Red Storm considering they are very thin in the front court. Rebounding was a weakness even before this issue.
The Johnnies are expected to play a bunch of minutes with their five guard lineup, which is able to create mismatches on the offensive end of the court but it will be difficult to grab defensive rebounds consistently.
When the small lineup is not on the floor, Christian Jones and Amar Alibegovic will have to step up and help Chris Obekpa in the rebounding department.
Speaking of Chris Obekpa, the junior did return to practice this week after suffering an sprained ankle last week. He is not 100 percent but Lavin said if the game were to be played today Chris would be in the starting lineup.
"I'm not putting all my weight on (my ankle) in practice because I don't want to make it worse," Chris Obekpa said. "I'm going in and out of practice."
Chris Obekpa was asked if he was going to play tomorrow and he responded saying, "We'll see tomorrow."
The Johnnies will open up the season Friday night at 7 pm at Carnesecca Arena against NJIT.