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.
The Seton Hall staff is optimistic that incoming 6-foot-11, 350-pound freshman Melvyn Oliver will be cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse to play this season, but Oliver has yet to get an official notification of his status.
“They’re still waiting for his stuff to clear,” said Victor Evans, Oliver’s coach at Mississippi Elite Christian Academy. “They have everything they need. They’re just waiting on the NCAA right now. You know with that NCAA, you never know.
“We had a football player from here who cleared and I think Melvyn’s stuff went (to the NCAA) first. He cleared before football practice started.”
Evans said Oliver has been doing everything expected of him during his time in summer school in South Orange.
“From my understanding he’s doing everything they asked him to do,” Evans said. “He’s on time for all his meetings, all his classes and all his workouts.”
Evans added that Oliver weighed about 350 pounds when he last spoke to him a few weeks ago, but that Oliver’s goal was to get down to 325.
“He’s going to be OK,” Evans said. “He’s going to be fine.”
Evans also coached Robert “Stix” Mitchell, who will be eligible at Seton Hall after transferring from Duquesne.
“He can just flat out shoot it,” Evans said. “He’s a very confident player. He was the A-10 Freshman of the year last year. He was always very confident in his ability.”
Seton Hall is still awaiting word on New Mexico State transfer Herb Pope and whether he will obtain a “hardship waiver” to play this year.
Andy Katz reported on his blog that “the NABC also had discussions at its board of directors meeting recently to discuss the potential abuse of players trying to gain eligibility immediately upon transferring. The trend is to claim a family hardship. The example of Tennessee’s Tyler Smith, who transferred from Iowa to Tennessee last year, probably shouldn’t be applied to every case. Smith’s father was dying, and the NCAA showed great compassion in allowing Smith to transfer closer to home to be with him in his final days.”
“It was a magnanimous gesture by the NCAA with Tyler Smith,” St. Joe’s coach Phil Martelli told Katz. “Now there are more than 20 cases pending.”
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.