In November 2011 ESPN reported that two former Syracuse ball boys accused then-assistant coach Bernie Fine of sexually assaulting them, and the firestorm would eventually lead to Fine losing his job when a third accuser surfaced.
An investigation into the allegations led to no charges being filed against Fine. And just hours before the program takes the Verizon Center court it was reported by the Syracuse Post-Standard that former assistant Bernie Fine has filed the initial paperwork in a defamation suit against ESPN.
Fine is seeking unspecified damages from the network, and according to the Post-Standard neither his legal representation nor an ESPN spokesperson were willing to comment on the pending litigation.
However, ESPN spokesman David Scott did tell the newspaper that the network stood by its reporting of the allegations.
How much of a distraction will this be for Syracuse when they take on Indiana, and possibly for the remainder of the weekend should the Orange beat the Hoosiers? Not much, given how long Fine’s been away from the program.
While questions about the lawsuit could lead to an ornery head coach, don’t expect this to be something that distracts the Orange from the task at hand.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.
Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.
Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.
South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.
They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.