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.
John Riek is expected to get cleared by his doctor to play basketball next month, but still hasn’t heard from the NCAA Clearinghouse on his eligibility at Cincinnati.
In that respect, his situation is similar to that of Melvyn Oliver at Seton Hall and Ater Majok at UConn.
“On Jan. 19 he should get cleared to play as far as full participation,” said Fatah Muraisi, the guardian for the 7-foot-2 Riek, a native of the Sudan. “If we haven’t heard from the NCAA, he’ll just stay at IMG.”
Riek is at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. recovering from ACL surgery this past summer.
“[IMG coach] Dan Barto knows him real well,” Muraisi said. “They’re not going to push him real hard. They don’t’ care about winning or losing. They care about what’s best for the player.”
As for the NCAA, Riek has received a qualifying score on the ACT, but the Clearinghouse is reviewing his foreign transcript.
“Who knows when they’re going to get back to us?” Muraisi said. “I told John, ‘It’s going to take time. We’ll see what the situation is, but don’t get discouraged.'”
If they don’t get word by the start of the Big East season, Riek could just sit out the whole year.
“He might not play this year, which might not be a bad thing,” Muraisi said. “Truthfully with the knee surgery that might not be a bad thing.”
With six inches of snow expected to come our way here in New York on Friday, Saturday might be a good day to stay home and watch college hoops on TV. In this area alone, we have St. John’s playing at the Garden in the Holiday Festival, Rutgers playing at the RAC and Duke meeting Xavier at the Izod Center.
If you’re watching on TV, here are some of Saturday’s top tilts:
1 p.m. – Mount St. Mary’s at Georgetown, SNY
2 – Duke vs. Xavier, CBS
2 – Columba vs. Virginia Tech, at MSG, MSG
2:30 – Temple at Kansas, ESPN2
4 – UConn at Gonzaga, CBS
4 – Marist at St. John’s, at MSG, MSG
6 – Syracuse at Memphis, ESPN
7 – IUPUI at Seton Hall, 7
HIGH SCHOOL NOTES
I’m headed out this morning to a press conference at The Prudential Center to interview St. Benedict’s coach Dan Hurley and some of his players about the Brian Doherty Classic (now called the Newark National Invitational) in which St. Benedict’s will face Lance Stephenson and Lincoln on Jan. 24 at The Rock.
Then I’m going to take a train out to Brooklyn to watch Lance and the Railsplitters meet Keith Spellman and Jefferson in a PSAL tilt at 5 p.m. Jefferson knocked off Bishop Loughlin in the Big Apple Challenge on Sunday.
Lincoln leaves after the game for the City of Palms Classic, which is covered in the post below about Dexter Strickland and St. Patrick.
This weekend, the Hoop Group runs its Tip-Off Classic at Seton Hall that features several can’t-miss games, including Trenton Catholic-St. Anthony and Paterson Catholic-Plainfield.
The PC-Plainfield game features 4 juniors with offers from Seton Hall, the PC trio of Fuquan Edwin, Jayon James and Trevor Clemmings and Plainfield guard Isaiah Epps. Epps is also considering Pitt, Rutgers and Maryland.
Plainfield also features sophomore guard Tyrone Johnson, definitely a D-1 prospect.
How am I going to see those and also cover St. John’s on Sunday at MSG. Can somebody clone me?
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.