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.
Oliver Gets Thumbs Down From NCAA; Garcia Out With Knee Injury
Melvyn Oliver, a 6-foot-10, 340-pound freshman center at Seton Hall, has been declared academically ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
As a partial qualifier, Oliver will not be able to practice or play with the Pirates for the rest of the year. However, he has been awarded athletic financial aid and will continue to be a student at Seton Hall. He doesn’t have to pay his own way. That keeps the door open for him to play next year.
The story was first reported by Setonia.blogspot.com, which conducted an online interview with Oliver, a California native who attended four high schools, most recently Mississippi Elite Christian Academy.
“It’s over wit gotta wait till next year,” Oliver is quoted as saying on the blog. “It’s cool. Im ready for next year. Ima bring us a championship.”
Seton Hall has not released an official statement and calls to Oliver’s high school coach were not immediately returned.
Seton Hall has eight scholarship players and is awaiting word on an NCAA waiver for junior guard Keon Lawrence, who transferred from Missouri.
Of the three players brought in in this year’s recruiting class — Oliver, Jamel Jackson and Jordan Theodore — only Theodore is eligible.
In other Seton Hall news, senior forward John Garcia is having trouble with his surgically-repaired left knee. He is unlikely for Saturday’s game against IUPUI, and it remains unclear when he might return.
If Garcia is out, Seton Hall will be down to seven scholarship players.
Entering the season, the big concern was that one or two injuries could take its toll on the team as it navigates a brutal Big East that includes eight Top 25 teams.
The Pirates are off to an 8-1 start, including victories over then-No. 19 USC and Virginia Tech. After playing IUPUI, Seton Hall will visit James Madison Monday and then return home Dec. 27 to face FDU.
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.