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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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Wednesday / February 8.
  • NEW YORK — The way Donnie Walsh figures it, Mike D’Antoni was right all along.

    The Knicks president says his head coach was right for benching Nate Robinson for 14 games because the team went 8-6 during that spurt.

    And he believes D’Antoni was correct to bring Robinson back Friday night in Atlanta, a game in which Robinson exploded for a season-best 41 points in a 112-108 OT victory. Robinson became the first player since Pete Maravich in 1973 to come off the bench in an NBA game and put up 40 points and 8 assists.

    “It proved Mike right in his actions all the way through,” Walsh said Sunday before the Knicks crushed the depleted Pacers, 132-89 at MSG. “When he changed the rotation we won and then when it went back to Nate, we won that game. And he said when he changed the rotation that  he was going to go back to Nate.”

    Despite the recent charges against four members of the Tennessee men’s basketball program, the Vols highest profile recruit is standing by the school.

    Tobias Harris, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Long Island who signed in November with Tennessee, said he views the program as “family” and stands by his commitment.

    “When members of a family go through adversity, you remain strong,” he wrote in a text message. “You can name a lot of negatives about the program right now but you can name some very important positives, such as me being the leader I am and a first-class kid on and off the court that I can have a greater impact in turning this situation around in a more positive way than it is now, not only with basketball but with everything else.”

    Ashton Gibbs and the Pittsburgh Panthers were able to do what no other team has done this season.

    Beat Syracuse.

    Gibbs drained 6 of 9 3-pointers and scored a game-high 24 points to lead Pitt to an 82-72 win over the No. 5 Orange at the Carrier Dome. 

    Syracuse had been the Big East’s highest-ranked and most impressive team, routing Cal and defending NCAA champ North Carolina, and also beating Florida.

    Many, including myself, believed this might be a down year for Pitt, which lost Levance Fields, Tyrell Biggs, Sam Young and DeJuan Blair to the pros.

    But Jamie Dixon’s team has now won five straight and five of six against Top 5 teams.

    Davontay Grace has pulled the trigger and is headed to the Big East.

    A 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior point guard from Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson, Grace orally committed to St. John’s Friday night and can sign with the school in November.

    Grace is a tough and compact point guard reminiscent of a young Levance Fields, the former Brooklyn star who played at Pitt. He is currently averaging 10.5 points and 9.8 assists for Jefferson (5-1), which is tied for first place in the PSAL Brooklyn AA division.

    He chose St. John’s over Providence, Marquette and Hofstra.

    “He made his mind up in Puerto Rico over the Christmas break,” said Jefferson coach Lawrence Pollard, referring to the Puerto Rico Hoops Classic where Grace had 16 points in a quarterfinal win over Sagrado Corazon. “He committed [Friday] night. [St. John’s coach] Norm [Roberts] called him last night and he made it official. He called me and told me. He had his mind made up, that’s where he wanted to go.”

    Grace said he’s looking forward to playing in the Big East and helping the Johnnies turn it around.