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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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Friday / February 23.
  • Wall Cleared to Play; Kilicli Suspended 20 Games; Seton Hall Wins Exhibition

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    Kentucky freshman guard John Wall has been cleared to play by the NCAA.

    The 6-foot-4 Wall must repay nearly $800 in expenses and sit the first exhibition game against Campbellsville (Nov. 2) and the first regular-season game against Morehead State (Nov. 13).

    “I’m grateful to have this decision behind me. All I ever wanted was to go to school and play ball with my team,” Wall said. “This has been really hard for my mom and I want to thank her for her support during this process.”

    The punishments stem from Wall’s association with his former AAU coach, Brian Clifton of D-One Sports, who was a certified agent from 2007 to 2008. During his junior year at Word of God Christian Academy, Wall took two unofficial visits to Kentucky with Clifton.

    “We’re appreciative of the process and the NCAA’s willingness to listen,” said Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart. “The NCAA staff worked to keep the welfare of the student-athlete in mind throughout this process. I’m happy for Coach [John] Calipari and John Wall that he will get a chance to represent the Wildcats this season. He’s a great young man and deserves to be able to concentrate fully on his academics and basketball.”

    Wall was one of five freshmen on the Naismith Preseason watch list. A pre-season All-American according to several national publications, Wall was the top recruit in the country last season according to Rivals.com.

    “John Wall is a great kid who always tries to do the right thing and his mother is a great lady,” Calipari said. “I’m just happy this is behind us.”

    KILICLI SUSPENDED 20 GAMES

    West Virginia freshman forward Deniz Kilicli must sit for the first 20 games of the season after the NCAA determined he violated an amateurism rule.

    West Virginia said Friday that the NCAA determined Kilicli played on a Turkish team during the 2007-08 season that included a professional player, which isn’t allowed under NCAA rules.

    A native of Istanbul, Kilicli played for the Pertevniyal Istanbul Club team in Turkey because high schools there don’t offer prep basketball.

    Kilicli attended Mountain State Academy in Beckley, West Va., in 2008-09.

    Kilicli must sit until Feb. 3, when West Virginia hosts Pittsburgh.

    Coach Bob Huggins declined to comment on the NCAA ruling.

    “Deniz has played really well,” Huggins said last week at Big East media day.

    Huggins already suspended guards Darryl “Truck” Bryant of Brooklyn and Joe Mazzulla during the summer for off-the-court issues.

    “They’re fine. It’s over with, we’re moving on,” Huggins said last week.

    West Virginia (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) opens exhibition play on Nov. 8 against Mountain State.

    SETON HALL WINS EXHIBITION

    Seton Hall downed Carleton University 89-62 in an exhibition Friday at Walsh Gym. Sophomore guard Jordan Theodore scored 17 points and had eight steals, all in the first half. Junior forward Herb Pope scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added three blocks. Junior Keon Lawrence went 5-of-5 from the field and tallied 13 points. Seton Hall shot 59.6 percent from the field and made 6-of-14 from beyond the arc. Junior guard Jeremy Hazell did not play in the game and the Pirates started Lawrence, Pope, Eugene Harvey, John Garcia and Robert Mitchell and Pope. The Pirates open the season Nov. 13 against St. Peter’s.

    BIRUTA GETTING LOOKS

    Coaches from Arizona, Md, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s came to St. Benedict’s this week to scout Gil Biruta, a 6-8 forward from Lithuania.

    (The Associated Press contributed; Photos courtesy Kentucky & West Virginia Athletics)

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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.

    • (Not a facetious comment)

      Yes sir. Happy today now that Wall is officially cleared. As much as people rip schools though, this Kilicli 20 game suspension thing has me kinda feeling sorry for WVU. What a ridiculous ruling.

    • Once again ……. the Cal haters lose.

    • Yeah, ask Memphis fans what they lost thanks to Cal…

      • Or the UMass fans…

        On the other hand, when he had to operate under a salary cap with the Nets, he showed he belonged chasing eighteen year olds to college towns for a season of “amateur” basketball.

    • Another story blown out of proportion …..Wall will play ….KU will dominate …..Cal haters will cry . Next subject .

      • You’re right there, it’s hard to imagine Kansas not dominating this year.

        Though they might have skated by on this one, it’s only a matter of time before Calipari vacates yet another season.

    • Wow, the Kilicli and Wall stories placed back-to-back really highlight how corrupt the NCAA is…