Carmelo Anthony

Report: NCAA investigated Syracuse’s ties to local YMCA as part of inquiry

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The NCAA finished up its investigation into Syracuse athletics in late October, and one part of that process is focused on an internship program that placed Syracuse athletes at a local YMCA and a former YMCA employee who had access to Syracuse men’s basketball players.

According to a report from Chris Carlson, Nate Mink and John O’Brien of Syracuse.com, the NCAA looked into the YMCA in Oneida, NY as part of the investigation and are focusing on two particular people who had ties to Syracuse athletes while working there.

The internship program at the YMCA was part of a course required to graduate with a degree in Child and Family Studies, which was a popular major among athletes in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamic, according to the story. The NCAA’s interest occurred when 18 percent of Syracuse football players were enrolled in that major from 2004-05 and the internship program also had ties to the men’s basketball program.

Possible violations pertaining to the YMCA reportedly occurred years ago and include documentation of internship hours that athletes completed there as well as who was responsible for approving those hours.

This would help explain why Hank Leo, the CEO of the Tri-Valley YMCA in Oneida and a former Syracuse football tutor, was involved in the NCAA hearing for Syrause on Oct. 30-31 in Chicago.

The YMCA was not accused of wrongdoing by the NCAA, according to Leo’s lawyer, Robert Whitaker, but investigators questioned whether a second person with ties to the YMCA provided extra benefits to football and men’s basketball players.

That second person is former sports director of the Tri-Valley YMCA, Jeff Cornish. Cornish was an Oneida resident with no known ties to Syracuse other than his affiliation to the YMCA, but he was regularly around Syracuse basketball players.

Cornish once drove Carmelo Anthony to a speaking engagement and stopped by a neighbor’s house so Anthony could sign autographs, according to a 2003 report from the Oneida Daily Dispatch, and other former Orange basketball players like Terrence Roberts and Hakim Warrick attended a 2005 basketball tournament that Cornish was involved with. Another former player, Dayshawn Wright, claimed that he was paid $100 by Cornish to operate the scoreboard at the Oneida YMCA during a basketball tournament.

The Syracuse.com story also reveals that the YMCA sued Cornish in 2008 in state Supreme Court, claiming that he diverted as much as $338,462 for his own benefit by setting up a bank account using the YMCA’s not-for-profit tax ID number without permission. The lawsuit accused Cornish of accounting fraud and unjust enrichment and was dropped eight months later as it was believed to be settled out of court.

It is unknown how or if the money was used, including Cornish’s involvement with Syracuse athletics. Syracuse’s athletic department severed ties with the YMCA around the time of the lawsuit, according to the Syracuse.com report.

The university is still awaiting a report from the NCAA detailing the violations or if any occurred in the first place. If violations were committed, potential sanctions will also be something to monitor. Syracuse said previously in a statement that most of the issues in the investigation regarded men’s basketball and football and, “occurred years ago, with the exception of certain issues in basketball occurring between 2010 and early 2012.”

Many believe the potential violations between 2010 and 2012 are a matter of former center Fab Melo’s academic record.

While many will probably connect dots and jump to unfounded conclusions based on the report between Syracuse athletes and the YMCA, it’s tough to directly pinpoint wrongdoing on the part of Syracuse if it is unknown how the money from Cornish’s bank account was used.

Obviously this is a complicated investigation that stretches back longer than a decade, but we won’t know how the NCAA feels about those ties to Cornish or the YMCA until the full report is released.

Syracuse to retire Carmelo Anthony’s jersey

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He may have only played one season in an orange Syracuse uniform, but Carmelo Anthony’s jersey will be hanging from the rafters of the Carrier Dome come February, ESPN New York is reporting.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Syracuse has been “working to arrange [the jersey’s retirement] for a couple of years” and an official announcement would come soon.

Anthony played one season at Syracuse in 2002-03 and averaged 22.2 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, leading Syracuse to a national championship. That championship is the only one for coach Jim Boeheim during his tenure with the Orange.

He then entered the 2003 NBA Draft and was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the third overall pick. He has remained active in Syracuse affairs since he left the program, donating $3 million toward the completion of Syracuse’s practice facility named the “Melo Center” in his name.

Anthony will become the 10th Syracuse player to have his jersey retired, joining Rony Seikaly (4), Vic Hanson (8), Billy Gabor (17), Wilmeth Sidat-Singh (19), Sherman Douglas (20), Dave Bing (22), Billy Owens (30), Dwayne “Pearl” Washington (31), and Derrick Coleman (44).

This season for the New York Knicks, Anthony is averaging 29.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Coach K, yoga master?

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Social media has allowed us to take a look into the inside teams that we typically don’t see, especially during the Olympics.

The United State Men’s Basketball Team has been especially fun, with players tweeting pictures of other players in less-than-flattering situations, including this gem of Carmelo Anthony sleeping.

We got another good one, courtesy of Deron Williams, who posted to his Instagram page what appears to be a photo of head coach Mike Krzyzewski doing yoga at practice.

The tweet garnered over 220 retweets on Twitter and, above all else, is a different look at a legendary college coach.

As Eamonn Brennan points out over at ESPN.com, it looks like Coach K is practicing his “child’s pose,” which is supposed to relieve stress and fatigue, as well as gently stretch the hips, thighs, and ankles.

Have we uncovered the secret to Coach K’s success at Duke? Unlikely, but at least we’re having some fun during what is an intense grind for Team USA in London.

The Americans defeated France in their first game of Olympic competition, 98-71, and take on Tunisia at 5:15 PM EDT Tuesday.

In another note related to college basketball, former Kentucky star Anthony Davis could see minutes against a Tunisian team that is the only in Olympic competition to not have an NBA player on the roster.

Team USA is the heavy favorite.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

The Morning Mix

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– For those interested, Doug Gottlieb provides his preseason power rankings for 2012-2013

– Jim Boeheim said something outlandish? I’m shocked. Shocked I say. Shocked. But he does want to keep one Big East non-conference game on the schedule…..Of course it’s the school in New York. Jimmy-B doesn’t travel outside of New York for nobody

– Cracked Sidewalks hit another one out of the park: A statistical ranking of all the NBA summer league players

– Matt Norlander serenades us with a tale of grandeur and whimsy……….OK, that was me trying to be Matt Norlander. Anyways, here he is explaining why college hoopsters and coaches across the country are loving the new summer practice rule

– I’ll be the judge of the “Dunk of the Summer” label……….Yup, that’s Dunk of the Summer right there

– Jason King drops some knowledge on the most important players in the Pac-12

– Eamonn Brennan is not alone. I too had no clue who James Barnett was before the beginning of this week. Apparently the people in China love this kid, a sophomore shooting guard at Saint Joseph’s

– Andy Katz thinks that Colorado is primed to compete now that they’ve settled in to the Pac-12 conference

– Mike Waters wants to know who you would add to Syracuse’s Mount Rushmore if it already had Dave Bing, Derrick Coleman and Carmelo Anthony. Personally, I’d go with Gerry McNamera. 2006 Big East Tournament. Don’t really have to say much more than that

– Rob Dauster tries to provide some insight on how to go about gaining a scholarship in July 

-A Memphis woman has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Middle Tennessee State University women’s basketball player

– I thought Georgia Southern had announced their decision to stay in the SoCon? Then why are they chatting up a storm with Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson?

– Michigan State may have lost Draymond Green, but Tom Izzo still likes the squad he is bringing back next season

– Speaking of the Spartans, MSU  big-man Derrick Nix continues to shed weight in the off-season

– A good-read on Kansas’ Naadir Tharpe, a talented sophomore guard who is ready for a breakout year in Lawrence

– I hope Providence’s LaDontae Henton has a breakout season. The versatile sophomore forward was a member of the Big East All-Rookie Team in 2012 and should be one of the driving forces behind the Friars resurgence in the Big East

This has to be Dante Taylor’s year, right?

– According to a mystery college coach close to the situation, Kentucky is in the lead to land the services of Jabari Parker

– Speaking of Parker, the top recruit in the country might miss the entire recruiting period due to a foot injury, and he isn’t too concerned with losing his spot in the recruiting rankings. But he will trim his top-ten list down in the near future

Former-Bradley Brave Adebayo Akinkunle was robbed in Chicago, losing more than $100,000 in cash and his Range Rover. Quick question: Who the hell has $100,000 in cash lying around their house other than the guy from “Blow”?

– of course Kentucky fans are upset that Anthony Davis didn’t get enough playing time on Monday night

– And if Russ Smith wasn’t already ridiculous enough, he now has a racehorse named after him

– It looks like South Florida guard Blake Nash is transferring to Texas Tech

– Who will lead Iowa in scoring next season?  I’m going with Roy Devyn Marble, but not because of his awesome name. The dude can flat-out score

– Your weekly update on the UNC academic fraud scandal. Now w/ 25% More Chad Forde!

– Here’s video of Rick Ross playing hoops…..If you’re in to that sorta thing (Language NSFW)

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

Report: Anthony Davis to be a finalist for Team USA

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According to a report from Sam Amrick of SI.com, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis will be getting a shot as a replacement candidate to compete with Team USA in this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

There has been quite a bit of speculation about Davis’ potential candidacy, but with the torn ACL that Derrick Rose suffered in the opening game of the NBA Playoffs, Team USA is now down four players from the group of 20 finalists that were announced in January.

The current finalists for Team USA include: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Odom, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.

There is no guarantee that Davis would make the team, but with his skill set and potential, it would make sense to get him involved with the National Team program as early as possible.

As a sophomore in high school, Anthony Davis was a 6-foot-2 shooting guard for a bad high school team in Chicago. As a junior, he was a 6-foot-6 forward getting recruited to places like Cleveland State. After one season in college, he’s got a shot to be on Team USA.

That, my friends, is a meteoric rise.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Lincoln’s Isaiah Whitehead picks up offers from Arizona, Georgetown, Iowa State

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PITTSBURGH–Lincoln (N.Y.) guard Isaiah Whitehead has come a long way in one year’s time.

This time last spring, he was a highly ranked 2014 prospect who had scouts pointing out his potential for growth.

Now, in one weekend, he picked up offers from Iowa State, Georgetown, and Connecticut. Add those to offers from St. John’s, Syracuse, and Pitt, and Whitehead is now squarely within the elites of the Class of 2014.

He is one of the best finishers in the country among current sophomores, and had 19 points in a loss to the Detroit Stars on Saturday.

In the past year, he has continued to slim down, tone up, and grow into his body. And he has learned to use that developed frame to his advantage.

On one sequence Saturday afternoon, he backed a smaller guard in from the perimeter, down to the baseline, then hit a fall-away jumper with a hand in his face.

College coaches in the stands turned to look at each other in approval.

The most noticeable change in Whitehead, though, isn’t on the court. Since just last year, he is clearly more comfortable and confident talking to the media.

He told NBCSports.com what he was looking for in a college program.

“Basically a family atmosphere coaches who will teach me,” he said. “I’m looking at programs who will be good down the road, because I’m not going to school right now.”

For now, he says that Syracuse is the leader in his recruitment, in part because of his reverence for former Orange forward Carmelo Anthony.

Check out some of his video highlights here.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_