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American Athletic Conference news gathered from around the net.

Fab Melo Might Sit For 'A While' Due To Academic Issues

Fab Melo missed Syracuse’s last two games at Notre Dame and Cincinnati because of academic issues. Sources said that it could "be a while" before those academic issues are resolved.

Because of student privacy issues surrounding his academic status, SU officials have not publicly commented, beyond saying that there was no new information about Melo's playing status.

Via Post-Standard

Nerlens Noel Will Remain In Class Of 2013

Nerlens Noel has decided to remain in the Class of 2013 instead of enrolling in college this fall. Noel is the top center in the class of 2013 and in the top-3 overall.

“It was a possibility but I’ve been coming to the decision that… I’ll be staying 2013,” Noel said. “I’m just staying to get stronger. I think it’s going to be a good summer, a good school year. I tried to stay stress-free, just really focused on working hard academically, in the weight room and on the court and just leaving that recruiting stuff for when I got free time.”

Noel is being targeted by Syracuse, UConn, Kentucky, Louisville and Georgetown.

“The type of program thats fits me is probably up-tempo, that likes to move the ball and just go,” Noel said. “But then again I think I can play in a good offense running system that gets their big men the ball, high and low.”

Via ZagsBlog.com

Khem Birch Blasts Former Pittsburgh Teammates

UNVL transfer Khem Birch torched his former Pittsburgh teammates, claiming some players were more concerned about individual numbers than team success.

"I remember when some people didn't get what they wanted, during a half, if they didn't score a certain amount of points, during halftime, it would be silence from those players,” Birch said. “It wasn't like they were happy. Even if we were winning, they would just get mad because they didn't get what they wanted."

Birch said he never felt comfortable at Pittsburgh.

“I felt like, just coming in as an All-American, they didn't try to embrace me or anything,” Birch said. “I think some felt threatened.”

Via Sporting News

Drummond Plans On Returning For Sophomore Season

UConn star freshman Andre Drummond declared after Saturday’s loss to Rutgers that he would return for his sophomore season.

“As of right now, I know I’ll be back,” he said. “That’s all I could tell you, I’ll be back.”

Drummond is projected as a top-5 pick in the next draft.

“Playing under Jim Calhoun’s wing, it’s going to be great,” Drummond said. “I’m trying to be here just to be a great basketball player and get better as a person and he’s the guy to do it.”

Mitch Kupchak, general manager of the Lakers, and Rich Cho, general manager of the Bobcats, were among the eight NBA executives on hand to witness Drummond’s 10 point, 12 rebound performance against Rutgers.

Via ZagsBlog.com

Syracuse Backup Dion Waiters Leads Nation In Transition Points

Syracuse is averaging 20.4 transition points per game, a 4.4 point increase from last season.

Leading the Orange in the transition game is Dion Waiters.

The sophomore guard has been coming off the bench and providing energy by stealing the ball almost four times per 40 minutes, the third-highest rate in Division I, and scoring a Division I-high 97 transition points.

Via ESPN Stats & Info

Steve Lavin Won't Return To Bench Until Fully Recovered From Prostate Surgery

St. John’s coach Steve Lavin will most probably not coach this season and he’s been instructed by university president Father Donald J. Harrington not to return to the bench unless completely healthy.

“That is where our concentration lies as the University community. Our fans and supporters all look forward to his return when he and his doctors deem he is 100 percent ready to resume his full-time coaching duties,’’ Harrington said in a statement.

Lavin underwent successful prostate cancer surgery on Oct. 6. He is cancer-free, but the surgery has left him fatigued and unable to recover sufficiently to handle the rigors of the bench.

Lavin has not coached since the 2K Sports Classic in the Garden on Nov. 17 and 18.

Via Lenn Robbins/New York Post
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