By MICHELLE SAGAN
SYRACUSE — D’Angelo Harrison has been hearing that Syracuse is “New York’s College Team” for his entire four-year tenure at St. John’s.
Posters proclaiming that sentiment are all over New York City subways and cabs.
Entering Saturday’s non-conference tilt between the two teams at the Carrier Dome, the Orange led the all-time series 51-37 and St. John’s had failed to win a game there since 1999, when Harrison was 5 years old.
But thanks to a game-best 24 points from Harrison and 11 straight second-half points from fellow senior Phil Greene IV that powered a 17-2 run over the final 4:06, that is all history now after St. John’s beat Syracuse, 69-57 in front of 24,884 at the Dome.
“Coach [Steve Lavin] said look up there [in the Dome], and it said ‘New York’s College Team,'” Harrison said. “That gave us fire. It gave us motivation for today’s game.”
By CHIP MILLER & ADAM ZAGORIA
Here’s a few quick hits on some of the top players in the Classes of 2015 and 2016.
**Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and his entire staff will be at Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard’s on Monday to watch 2016 guard Tyus Battle, Gill coach Mergin Sina told SNY.tv. The 6-foot-6 Battle recently trimmed his list to 11 schools, including Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan, Ohio State and others. For more on Battle, watch our SNY.tv documentary “The Battle Plan” here.
**Malik Newman went off for 42 points but Callaway (MS) lost to Orangeville Prep, 85-71, at Marshall County. Thon Maker scored 19 points in the win. For the latest on Newman’s recruitment, read this. For more on Maker’s latest plans regarding reclassification, click here.
**Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory, Georgia coach Mark Fox, UCLA assistant David Grace and Kansas assistant Norm Roberts watched Jaylen Brown go off for 34 points and 12 rebounds as Marietta (GA) Wheeler beat Walton, 97-61, on Saturday night.
North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Hubert Davis also watched Brown on Friday night when he scored 30 points in a win.
The Big Ten Tournament will be played at Madison Square Garden in 2018, according to Pete Thamel of SI.com.
With the ACC Tournament also shifting to the Barclays Center for 2017 and ’18 and the Big East Tournament remaining at the Garden, New York City will host the Big Ten, ACC and Big East conference tournaments in 2018.
Ironically, longtime former Big East member UConn won’t be involved in any of the three postseason tournaments in New York that year.
By ADAM ZAGORIA & CHIP MILLER
BENTON, Ky. — Malik Newman’s father has no idea where his son will play his college basketball — and reiterates that his son won’t announce until April.
“He said he is signing late, that is all he told me,” Horatio Webster said at the Marshall County Hoop Fest where Newman went off for 35 points, 4 rebounds 4 assists in a 76-65 loss to UNLV-bound Derrick Jones and Archbishop Carroll, and followed that up with a 42-point, 5-rebound effort in an 85-71 loss to Orangeville Prep.
“Even my wife even asked me as late as last [Thursday] night, she asked, ‘Where do you think he is going?’ I said, ‘I don’t have any idea, we haven’t even talked about it.’”
The 6-foot-4 Newman is projected as the No. 5 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com. He has said he won’t announce until after the deadline for college players to declare for the NBA in April.
NEWARK — Entering this season, Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard didn’t mince words when asked about his goals for McDonald’s All-American freshman Isaiah Whitehead.
“I hope he can go to the NBA at the end of this season,” Willard said at Big East media day. “If he’s getting drafted, it means we had a really good year, it means he had a really good year.”
In an ideal world for all involved (except Seton Hall fans, I guess), Whitehead and the Pirates will have a big season culminating in an NCAA Tournament appearance, and the freshman from Brooklyn Lincoln High School will head off to the NBA after one season.
If it takes two years, that would probably be just fine with Willard and the Seton Hall faithful who watched Whitehead have his breakout game Saturday afternoon in an 81-54 dismantling of Rutgers in the Garden State Hardwood Classic at the Prudential Center.
The NCAA is looking into 6-foot-11 Kentucky signee Skal Labissiere and his guardian said he — Gerald Hamilton — is being “very cooperative,” according to a report from Ben Roberts of the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“They have a right to do their job,” Hamilton said at the Marshall County Hoop Fest where Labissiere went for 33 points and seven rebounds when his team, Reach Your Dream Prep, lost to Oak Hill Academy, 97-60. “We don’t have anything to hide.”
Hamilton was the subject of a recent CBSSports.com story quoting a Memphis AAU coach who said Hamilton was looking to profit off of a recruit. The AAU coach, Keith Easterwood, made similar comments to SNY.tv.
“I think it’s a waste of time to go back and forth with people,” Hamilton told Roberts of the reports. “Just move on and we’ll just focus on what we’re trying to do. … That’s all we can do.”
Kentucky’s Willie-Cauley Stein sure helped his draft stock on Friday.
The 7-foot junior went for 21 points, 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 3 blocks and made several key defensive plays in No. 1 Kentucky’s 63-51 victory over No. 6 Texas at Rupp Arena.
“Made himself some money tonight,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv. “Best player on the floor.”
Cauley-Stein is projected as the No. 9 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com. He said he returned to campus for his junior year to improve his draft stock.
“For sure,” he said. “You know, that is one of the biggest reasons that I came back is to just develop myself more as a basketball player. I feel like I am just starting to do that. It’s only December. I still have three months left.”