April 2010 | Page 13 of 17 | Zagsblog
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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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Saturday / April 13.
  • USC coach Kevin O’Neill adamantly denies that his program tampered with Rutgers guard Mike Rosario.

    “I can assure you that nobody on my staff, nor myself, has talked to him,” O’Neill told The Orange-County Register. “He has not contacted us. I don’t know what that’s all about.”

    According to Gannett New Jersey, Rutgers will file tampering charges against USC in the Rosario transfer case. The school will also seek to prevent Rosario from going to Kansas and Florida, Gannett reported.

    Rutgers has yet to officially grant Rosario a release so the school could argue it hasn’t had a chance to prevent him from going to USC or any other school.

    A source close to Rosario previously told me no tampering by USC went on.

    When Jio Fontan wanted to leave Fordham last December, he was given a conditional release and prohibited from landing at a number of schools.

    It was perfectly understandable for Fontan to be prevented from transferring within the Atlantic 10 Conference, but he was also restricted from joining nearly half a dozen Big East schools, including Rutgers.

    Fontan, a 6-foot point guard who played for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, once sat courtside at Rutgers  but never had any serious intention of coming to the school. He ultimately landed at Southern Cal.

    Four months later, Mike Rosario, Fontan’s close friend and former St. Anthony teammate, is going through a similar experience as Rutgers attempts to buy out head coach Fred Hill.

    Only this time, Rutgers is the school telling a star player where he can and cannot go.

    Rice High School coach Maurice “Moe” Hicks is “leaning” toward taking a job on Steve Lavin’s staff at St. John’s, a source close to Hicks said.

    The source said it would be “a great opportunity” for Hicks to make the jump to the Big East from high school.

    Hicks met with Lavin this past week and hopes to decide by Monday, the source said.

    Hicks would ostensibly become the Director of Basketball Operations. Tony Chiles has already been hired as one assistant and Lavin has targeted Mike Dunlap and Rico Hines as the other two assistants.

    The news was first reported by the Daily News.

    **Updated at 2 p.m. with one new name***

    During his nine-year run at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, Dan Hurley turned the school into a national powerhouse that repeatedly churned out high-major Division 1 prospects.

    Now that Hurley has moved on to Wagner College, the challenge for the next coach will be to maintain that same level of elite play and talent development.

    There has been no shortage of candidates to succeed Hurley, with many college assistants and high school coaches contacting both Hurley and Father Edwin Leahy, the school’s headmaster.

    Still, a short list has emerged and the next coach will likely come from the following group: Scott Smith, Bashir Mason, Roshown McLeod, Nick Mariniello and Elijah Allen.

    St. John’s coach Steve Lavin is still filling out his staff and will meet Friday with former Seton Hall assistant Scott Adubato, a source with direct knowledge said.

    Adubato spent three years at Seton Hall under Bobby Gonzalez, who was fired last month. Before that he was an assistant coach for two years under Mike Fratello with the Memphis Grizzlies. He also spent seven years in scouting and player development with Memphis.

    A New Jersey native and the son of former NBA and WNBA head coach Richie Adubato, Adubato is respected and connected in the Garden State. He recruited Kyrie Irving to Seton Hall and kept the Pirates in the mix with the McDonald’s All-American until the end. He remains close with several uncommitted 2010 recruits, including Jonathan Graham, a 6-8 senior power forward from Baltimore (Md.) Calvert Hall, and the former UConn commit Cleveland Melvin, a 6-8 big man from Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep.

    } });