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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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Monday / January 30.
  • Lance Stephenson dropped 37 points in a 70-55 victory over Briarcrest (Tenn.) in the first round of the City of Palms Classic Friday night in Fort Myers, Fla.

    The 6-foot-5 Stephenson shot 15-of-27 from the field and 7-of-13 from the stripe. He added 8 rebounds, 5 steals, 1 assist and 1 turnover.

    Darwin “Buddha” Ellis added 11 points for the three-time defending PSAL champion Railsplitters, who took a 36-26 halftime lead.

    Lincoln, coming off an 87-83 victory Thursday over Jefferson at Lincoln, had its flight delayed in New York by the weather and arrived about three hours late. Their game was pushed back to 10:15 as a result.
    “We just got off the plane and came here and played,” Stephenson told fiveborosports.com. “I was real tired, plus we ate, so I felt heavier today.”

    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.

    St. John’s sophomore Justin Burrell sustained three small facial fractures during a collision with teammate Sean Evans at practice Thursday and will miss this weekend’s Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

    “It’s an unfortunate injury, which is part of the game, but Justin is doing well,” Red Storm head coach Norm Roberts said. “We will miss him for the Holiday Festival, but we will see what happens with the doctors this week and go from there.”

    “He will be reevaluated next week,” added St. John’s spokesman Mark Fratto said. “He’s already been fitted for a custom face shield. If things go well with the doctors, he’ll be ready to play with the face shield and he would be back for Miami Dec. 27.

    The Syracuse University Appeals Board ruled that Eric Devendorf has been immediately suspended from the university and is prohibited from participating in all university activities.

    Devendorf reportedly punched a female student in the face Nov. 1 and faced arrest last month. He is the Orange’s second-leading scorer at 13.9 points per game.

    The Appeal Board modified the sanctions set by the University Judicial Board and imposed a community service requirement that he must meet in order to return to school for the spring semester. Jeff Goodman is reporting that Devendorf could be readmitted prior to the start of classes Jan. 12 and could potentially return in time to face Seton Hall Dec. 30 at home.

    St. Patrick’s first game in the City of Palms Classic will be against John Wall, the No. 1 player in the Class of 2009 according to Rivals, and his Word of God teammates on Saturday at 3:30.

    St. Patrick, the Elizabeth, N.J. school ranked No. 4 in the USA Today and PrepNation.com Polls, may have to play the game without North Carolina-bound guard Dexter Strickland, suspended for minor disciplinary reasons.

    “I’m going to try to talk to the assistant principal to let me play that game,” Strickland told me. “He’s trying to teach me a lesson in life. I’m just going to learn from my mistakes. Hopefully, I can convince him to let me play the first game.”