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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 / February 7.
  • Spoke today to Fatah Muraisi, the adviser to Teeng Akol and John Riek and he had these quick updates on his guys…

    **Akol, who once played at Our Savior New American on Long Island, was cleared by the NCAA on Monday and practiced for the first time yesterday with Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-11 native of the Sudan had his initial SAT score contested by South Florida, but he took the test again and his new score was very similar to his previous one.

    Akol averaged 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks while playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., last season.

    “I’m happier for him more than anything because he has worked his tail off to get to this point,” Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford told the Tulsa World.

    The Cowboys next game is Thursday at Washington in the Big 12/PAC 10 Hardwood Series.

    According to the Tulsa paper, Ford said Akol’s availability will allow OSU to use center Ibrahima Thomas at forward sometimes so he doesn’t have to guard “big, huge guys and get in foul trouble every game. It gives us some versatility in that area.”

    A year ago, Ryan Thompson scored 19 points and grabbed 9 rebounds to lift Rider to a 61-57 victory over Rutgers at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

    His older brother, Jason, managed just 12 points and 7 rebounds because of foul trouble.

    With Jason in the NBA, Ryan is now the man for the Broncs and they are looking for that same kind of result when Rider (3-1) hosts Rutgers (4-2) on Wednesday night at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton. It is Rider’s only game against a Big East opponent all season.

    “We certainly view it as an opportunity,” Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said by phone Tuesday. “Anytime you get a chance to play against a Big East opponent, especially at home. It’s kind of a neutral-site game, but it’s more of a home game for us than it is for them.”

    Former Bloomfield (N.J.) Tech star Casiem Drummond is leaving Villanova.

    The 6-10, 280-pound junior center has decided to transfer and will not be with the team when it takes on Penn tonight in a Big 5 matchup at the Palestra. He cannot transfer within the Big East, as per league rules.

    Bloomfield Tech coach Nick Mariniello said it was too early to tell where Drummond might end up.

    “Casiem is interested in finding a place where he can earn significantly more playing time than he has received here,” Villanova head coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “Our staff is doing all it can to help him locate that opportunity. Cas has made strides in his time with us and we appreciate all his efforts on behalf of our basketball family.”

    North Carolina remains the top team in the new Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll. The Tar Heels (7-0) top Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Duke and Gonzaga in this week’s poll.

    A record eight schools were chosen from the Big East: No. 2 UConn, No. 3 Pitt, No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 Louisville, No. 16 Syracuse, No. 17 Villanova, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 25 Marquette.

    Syracuse, which downed Florida and Kansas last week en route to the CBE Classic title, moved into the Top 25 for the first time. Those two schools combined to win the last three NCAA championships. Kansas dropped out of this week’s poll.

    “It’s frightening,” Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese told the AP. “And I’ve always said our league is great for fans and the media, but it’s a brutal league for coaches to keep on winning. Now I think everybody will be taking a shot at us because so much has been written about our league. But the great thing is there is a tournament to decide a national champion at the end of the year.”

    As Mike Teel and his fellow Rutgers seniors head into their final home game Thursday against Louisville, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano knows emotions will be running high.

    The senior Scarlet Knights will play their final game at Rutgers Stadium and as if that weren’t enough, the game will be televised nationally on ESPN and it also holds heavy bowl implications.

    “Sometimes I’ve seen guys get too emotional about their final game and then the only emotion that they’ll have the rest of their life is regret because they didn’t play well in their final game,” Schiano said Monday in his weekly press conference on SNY. “I’m going to encourage the guys to keep it to the game at hand.

    “I don’t want anyone to live with regret because they were too emotional about it and it made the game go haywire,” he added.