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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.
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Tuesday / August 21.
  • Seton Hall Notes: Pope, Oliver, Hires

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    Here are a few quick notes on Seton Hall heading into Media Day on Oct. 21…

    John Akers has a long piece in the current Basketball Times about NCAA transfers seeking waivers so they can play immediately. Akers reports that the NCAA is hearing more than 20 basketball cases, “ranging from players whose parents are ill to players whose coaches were fired to another player who didn’t fully understand transfer rules.” He correctly points out that Julian Vaughn has been granted immediate eligibility after moving to Georgetown from Florida State, adn that Alex Stepheson is hoping to do the same after going to USC from North Carolina. Much of the story deals with Seton Hall’s attempts to get waivers so former New Mexico State big man Herb Pope (pictured) and former Missouri guard Keon Lawrence can play this year. Pope’s waiver has already been submitted, while Lawrence’s has not.

    Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez told Akers (and me in a story I wrote recently) that he believes Pope has turned his life around and is ready to make a fresh start in South Orange. He says it’s unsafe for Pope to return to his native Aliquippa, Pa. because he testified against the man who shot him four times at a party in May 2007.

    “He went to court there,” Gonzalez told Akers. “He testified against the kid. Not only that, it’s probably not in his best interest to be back at home, where he went through all these things. His thing was to get closer to home — and it’s certainly a lot closer than Las Cruces. At first, he wanted to get as far away from Pittsburgh as he could, and then his coach (Reggie Theus) left and took an NBA job. There’s just a lot of things that people are missing here. The people who make these comments, I don’t think they understand the research and background that has happened…

    “A lot of people said the same thing, that the kid has come a long way and has changed a lot. I think he screwed up. I think when he got shot, it was a big reality that his life could have been over in two minutes. I think he felt real appreciative to be able to play basketball again and to even be alive. He’s not the same person.”

    In other Seton Hall news, 6-11 big man Melvyn “Big Mel” Oliver is still awaiting NCAA Clearinghouse approval, although both the Seton Hall staff and Oliver’s prep coach, Victor Evans, are optimistic.

    “They got all the stuff in the Clearinghouse so they’re waiting to hear back from them right now,” Evans said Thursday. “You never know. You just give them what they ask for. They’re just waiting. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem. It shouldn’t be.”

    By all accounts, Oliver is working hard in the classroom and in the gym to drop his weight. He was up around 340-350 the last time Evans spoke with him.

    Seton Hall also formally announced the hires Thursday of Dennis Kazimir (left) as director of basketball operations and former St. Anthony star Rodrick Rhodes as administrative assistant. Seton Hall also named Duane Bailey as Deputy Director of Athletics.

    One quick Rutgers note: former walk-on Charlie Rigoglioso, who starred in three sports at Wayne Valley High School, is now playing hoops at D-3 Moravian (Pa.) College.

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    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.