Syracuse has its sniper back.
Suspended senior forward James Southerland, who has missed the Orange’s last six games due to an ongoing academic investigation, won an appeal held on Friday to regain his eligibility. Southerland is cleared to play in the team’s game against St. John’s later this afternoon.
Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post Standard first broke the news, although his report can only be accessed through the Syracuse App. An except from the story reads:
“A Syracuse University academic hearing panel has upheld SU basketball player James Southerland’s appeal to have his edibility restored, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.”
Busting Brackets reported last month the school was optimistic Southerland would return at some point this season, but program sources cautioned the investigation was ongoing and would likely consume a sizable portion of the season. Southerland’s appeal was heard by an odd-numbered panel of students, teachers and one administrator, Busting Brackets has learned. The hearing lasted about two hours. The issue at-hand, according to a source: a term-paper submitted in a previous academic year snuffed out by the NCAA during its investigation of former SU center Fab Melo.
During Southerland’s four-week absence, the Orange went 4-2, highlighted by a signature win on the road at then-No. 1 Louisville. In the two back-to-back losses, first to Villanova and then to Pittsburgh, Syracuse combined to hit just 8 of their 28 3-point attempts. The team shot just 32-percent (29-of-90) from behind the arc in the six games without its go-to perimeter option.
A rangy 6-foot-8 forward capable of playing at the top and bottom of the 2-3 zone, Southerland is SU’s second leading scorer (13.6 points per game) and tops on the team in 3-point field goals made (33), even after the suspension. The sharpshooter tweeted in response to the news:
I Haven’t lost my touch. Thought I’d let y’all know that.
— James Southerland (@Jay43South) February 10, 2013
The Orange host the Red Storm, which has won six of its last seven games, at 3 p.m. Jim Boeheim’s team will be without injured freshman center DaJuan Coleman, who underwent knee surgery last week and will be sidelined for at least three more.