April 2010 | Page 14 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 / May 21.
  • With an announcement coming possibly as soon as Thursday that Rutgers will part ways with Fred Hill, multiple sources with knowledge say Fran Fraschilla is the program’s No. 1 choice to replace him.

    “One of the current players called me and said he’s No. 1 on their list. He’s the guy on their radar,” the first  source said of Fraschilla.

    A second source is a relative of one of the current players on the team.

    “He’ll probably get canned today,” the second source said of Hill. “There’s a team meeting this [Thursday] afternoon at 3 p.m. He [the player] is pretty sure that’s gonna happen today. Word is they’re trying to get Fran Fraschilla.”

    Fraschilla, a former coach at St. John’s and Manhattan, recently pulled himself out of the Iona mix, insisting he wanted to remain at ESPN. CW Post coach Tim Cluess ultimately took the Iona job.

    Rutgers would have cause to fire Fred Hill for his profanity-laced tirade and subsequent insubordination, a New Jersey legal expert said.

    “I think the profanity-laced tirade coupled with the insubordination, I think they would be on pretty firm ground firing him. I think that’s enough to  can him based on that [“principles of conduct”] clause,” the expert said

    Jerry Carino and Keith Sargeant of Gannett New Jersey cited “a source with knowledge of the process” saying that Hill “is likely to be terminated for cause Thursday.”

    Hill reportedly let loose a profanity-laced tirade at Pittsburgh baseball coach Joe Jordano last Thursday at a Pitt-Rutgers baseball game that caused Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti to say he was “actively investigating” the situation.

    Tim Cluess is the new Iona head coach and will be introduced Friday at a press conference.

    The presser is tentatively set for 11 a.m., but could be moved back to the afternoon.

    Cluess will also bring in Jared Grasso as his top assistant. Grasso, the former Fordham interim head coach, is a tremendous recruiter with deep ties to Jersey City (N.J.) St. Anthony and Paterson (N.J.) Catholic.

    Fran Fraschilla was originally thought to be the favorite for the head job once former coach Kevin Willard took the Seton Hall position.

    But Fraschilla opted to remain at ESPN instead.

    Louisville assistant Steve Masiello was also heavily considered but Iona athletic director Pat Lyons ultimately opted for Cluess, who built CW Post into a Division II power and played college ball at St. John’s and Hofstra.

    In four seasons at the Long Island school, he went 19-11, 26-5, 30-1 and 23-6. This past year he won 19 of his final 21 games. He is 98-23 overall at the school.

    Kentucky freshmen Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and John Wall and junior Patrick Patterson will enter their names in this year’s NBA Draft.

    All five players are projected as first-round picks, with Wall likely to go No. 1 overall.

    It marks the second straight season a Kentucky player has declared early for the draft. All-American Jodie Meeks decided to forego his senior season last year to turn pro.

    Bledsoe averaged 11.3 ppg while hitting 49 three-pointers and shooting 38 percent from behind the line in his freshman campaign.

    “I never thought I’d be in this position after one year,” Bledsoe said. “Coach Cal pushed us all to be the best we could be and he believes I’m prepared to take my game to the next level. I want to thank the fans for all their support this year.”

    Rutgers sophomore shooting guard Mike Rosario met with Tim Pernetti, the school’s athletic director, Wednesday and expects to get his release as soon as later this week, a source with knowledge said.

    After first speaking Wednesday with Rosario, the source was under the impression that the player had already gotten the release.

    During the meeting, which also included Rosario’s mother, Pernetti asked Rosario whether he wanted to leave because of the coach, the program or other factors, and Rosario said it was a combination of reasons, the source said.

    Pernetti and Rosario are expected to meet again Friday, the source said.