Arizona to terminate assistant reportedly over recruitment of Shaquille O'Neal's son | 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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Thursday / August 6.
  • Arizona to terminate assistant reportedly over recruitment of Shaquille O’Neal’s son

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Arizona will terminate assistant coach Mark Phelps reportedly over his recruitment of Shaquille O’Neal’s son,  Shareef O’Neal.

    “The University of Arizona has initiated the process to terminate Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Mark Phelps’ employment with the University,” the school said in a statement. “During this process, Phelps has been placed on suspension with pay in accordance with University policy. This personnel action is not related to the federal criminal proceedings in New York or the NCAA’s review of the facts underlying the allegations of unlawful conduct.”

    Jeff Goodman of Watch Stadium Tweeted the Phelps situation “involves a fraudulent online course with ex-Arizona commit Shareef O’Neal.” Multiple reports, including Yahoo, linked Phelps to the 6-foot-10 O’Neal, who decommitted from Arizona in the wake of the FBI investigation last February and later committed to UCLA. He then took a medical redshirt this year after undergoing heart surgery.

    “The University of Arizona is committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct and our commitment to those principles is unwavering,” Arizona AD Dave Heeke said. “The decision to remove Coach Phelps immediately is a direct result of that commitment. We strive to compete within the rules of the NCAA and the PAC-12 Conference, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA. Coach [Sean] Miller fully supports this decision, which we agree is in the best interests of our men’s basketball program and the University.”

    “Mark Phelps has done absolutely nothing in violation of NCAA rules,” his attorney, Don Jackson, told ESPN on Wednesday night (via Yahoo).

    Arizona hosts Washington on Thursday.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.