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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 / May 28.
  • It isn’t the official New Jersey state championship game, but it might as well be.

    St. Benedict’s of Newark (19-0), No. 2 in the USA Today Super 25, will face No. 9 St. Patrick of Elizabeth (16-2) Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in an independent game at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

    “If you do win the state and you don’t beat St. Ben’s, you’re still not the best team in the state,”  St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle said.

    St. Patrick, which features North Carolina-bound guard Dexter Strickland, talented junior guard Kyrie Irving and super sophomore Michael Gilchrist, is considered the favorite by many to win the New Jersey Tournament of Champions this year.

    Oprah Winfrey donated $500,000 to  St. Benedict’s Prep, so Dan Hurley’s team probably won’t need to be out on the corner fundraising anytime soon.

    The donation was part of a $1.5 million gift to five Newark non-profit outfits.

    Rev. Edwin D. Leahy, the headmaster of St. Benedict’s, told The Star-Ledger that Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been “working for ages to have people interested in Newark and one of the people he has been talking to is Oprah.”

    St. Ben’s serves 540 kids from seventh to 12th grade and features the No. 3-ranked high school team in the nation.

    “It was a surprise. It was a big surprise,” said Leahy.

    Derrick Caracter is enrolled at UTEP and head coach Tony Barbee says the 6-foot-9 Fanwood, N.J. native will be eligible to play in the second semester of the 2009-10 season.

    Caracter, who spent two seasons at Louisville, still needs one class at UTEP to become eligible.

    “He’ll be eligible to play at the end of first semester next fall when the final grades are posted. He’s one class short of getting eligible,” Barbee said by phone. “He’s on track to graduate.”

    Barbee first recruited Caracter when he was an assistant at Memphis from 2000-06, but Caracter chose Louisville instead.

    Bob Knight is interested in taking the Georgia coaching job, according to Furman Bisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    “He doesn’t want it to look as if he’s pursuing the job. He’d like to be offered it, and if offered, he’d take it,” a source told Fisher, a mutual friend of him and Coach Knight.

    “He doesn’t want it to look as if he’s looking for work, but I can assure you that he’d like to have the job. It’s the idea of coaching a team in the Southeastern Conference that appeals to him. There are just so many things he could do for Georgia basketball. This would be his last stop, and he likes that.”

    Georgia fired Dennis Felton last Thursday after the Bulldogs (9-12 overall, 0-6 SEC) got off to an 0-5 start in the conference. Associate coach Pete Herrmann was named interim coach for the remainder of the season.

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