Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:54 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 11:19 pm

Report: Bernie Fine investigated for molestation

By Gary Parrish

Syracuse police are investigating an allegation that longtime Syracuse basketball assistant Bernie Fine molested a team ball boy over an extended period of time beginning in the 1980s, according to a Thursday night report from ESPN's Mark Schwarz and Arty Berko.

CBSSports.com left a message on Fine's cell seeking comment.

The message was not immediately returned.

The alleged victim is Bobby Davis, who is now 39. He told ESPN's Outside the Lines that Fine began molesting him in 1983, shortly before Davis entered seventh grade. Davis was a Syracuse ball boy from 1984 to 1990. He said the abuse occurred at Fine's home, at the Syracuse basketball facilities and on road trips. A second man, identified by ESPN only as "a relative of Davis," has said Fine also molested him around the same time.

Fine is in his 35th season at Syracuse. He was placed on administrative leave late Thursday even though Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim released a statement backing Fine.

"This matter was fully investigated by the University in 2005 and it was determined that the allegations were unfounded," Boeheim said. "I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years. I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would been involved in any of the activities alleged. Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action. Bernie has my full support."

Outside the Lines -- as well as the Syracuse Post-Standard -- reported Thursday that it initially investigated Davis' claims in 2003 but decided against running the story because no additional alleged victims talked. But in recent days, according to the ESPN report, a second man -- inspired to talk because of the ongoing Penn State scandal -- contacted Outside the Lines with information alleging Fine had also molested him, which led to ESPN running the story.

Kevin Quinn, Syracuse's senior vice president for public affairs, issued a statement late Thursday on behalf of the school. It read: "In 2005, Syracuse University was contacted by an adult male who told us that he had reported to the Syracuse City Police that he had been subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach.

"The alleged activity took place in the 1980's and 1990's. We were informed by the complainant that the Syracuse City Police had declined to pursue the matter because the statute of limitations had expired. On hearing of the allegations in 2005, the University immediately launched its own comprehensive investigation through its legal counsel. That nearly four-month long investigation included a number of interviews with people the complainant said would support his claims. All of those identified by the complainant denied any knowledge of wrongful conduct by the associate coach.

"The associate coach also vehemently denied the allegations. Syracuse University takes any allegation of this sort extremely seriously and has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. If any evidence or corroboration of the allegations had surfaced, we would have terminated the associated coach and reported it to the police immediately. We understand that the Syracuse City Police has now reopened the case, and Syracuse University will cooperate fully. We are steadfastly committed ensuring that SU remains a safe place for every member of our campus community."

CBSSports.com reached a former Syracuse player by phone on Thursday.

Asked for comment, the former player said: "Sad to hear if it's true."

-- CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman contributed to this report.

Photo: AP
Posted on: November 14, 2011 3:22 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 3:30 pm

The Poll Attacks

By Gary Parrish

NEW YORK -- I'm in Manhattan for Tuesday night's Champions Classic.

But I've still got time for the Poll Attacks.

Here we go ...

Associated Press poll: The first thing I did when the AP poll was released was go straight to Scott Wolf's ballot because the Los Angeles Daily News writer was the focus of the preseason Poll Attacks, and I wanted to see if he learned anything over the past few weeks.

He did not.

Scott still has Kansas ranked third and ahead of North Carolina even though Bill Self called him "nuts" for doing it, and he still has Arizona ranked sixth even though the Wildcats have lost an exhibition and looked average in their first three games, and even though Josiah Turner has been wildly immature and ineffective. Sean Miller actually benched the freshman point guard for Sunday's game against Ball State. And yet Scott still has this team ranked sixth -- one spot ahead of Ohio State and six spots ahead of Syracuse.

It's senseless.

I tried to help him.

But I just can't get through.

Maybe next week.

Another wild ballot belongs to The State's Ron Morris.

He has Michigan State ranked sixth and Vanderbilt ranked eighth and, my God, that's inexplicable. I mean, nobody loves Tom Izzo more than me -- he's my traveling buddy, remember -- and I still believe in Vanderbilt despite Sunday's loss. But Izzo's team is young and probably not even one of the nation's top 20 teams right now, and Vanderbilt's loss to Cleveland State has to be considered. Neither school should be anywhere close to the top 10 right now. That's why Jeff Goodman and I have Vanderbilt ranked 19th and Michigan State unranked.

Another school we have unranked: UCLA.

But Ron has the Bruins ranked 18th.

I'll explain why that's silly in the coaches poll section of the Poll Attacks.

Coaches poll: Last week was the first week of the regular season, and I realize the 31 men who vote in the coaches poll were busy. Hell, I was busy. But I wasn't too busy to realize UCLA lost a home game to unranked Loyola-Marymount.

That's why the Bruins are no longer in the CBSSports.com Top 25 (and one).

Makes sense, right?

What makes no sense is that UCLA still got 10 points in the coaches poll.

Maybe, just maybe, putting the Bruins on a ballot could be justified if they lost at the buzzer to a quality and underrated team. But that's not what happened Friday night in Los Angeles. UCLA never led in the second half and fans started leaving with five minutes remaining. The final score was 69-58. And hurting UCLA's cause even more is the fact that Loyola-Marymount backed its big win with a 58-51 loss to Middle Tennessee State, meaning the team that beat UCLA by 11 on Friday lost to MTSU by seven on Sunday.

And yet the Bruins still got 10 points.

That speaks to the brand of UCLA.

Or, more likely, how silly some coach (or two) -- plus Ron Morris -- is somewhere.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: November 9, 2011 11:54 am

Boeheim can't recall last time Cuse was this deep

By Jeff Goodman

Jim Boeheim's team is so deep that he might wind up redshirting Trevor Cooney.

"He's our fifth guard right now," said the Syracuse coach. "We'll make a decision this week."

Cooney, a top 75 player and arguably the best pure shooter on the team, is behind Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, Dion Waiters and Michael Carter-Williams.

That's serious depth.

It's more of the same up front - where Boeheim will likely rotate three guys between the power forward and center spot: sophomores Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita as well as freshman Rakeem Christmas.

"Christmas will start at the four - and also play some at the five," Boeheim said.

"Fab has made major strides," he added. "He's a different player. He lost some weight and is playing with confidence. Last year he couldn't get up and down."

"Both of our big guys from last year - Fab and Moussa - have gotten a lot better," Boeheim continued.

That's seven or eight deep - and we haven't even touched on the team's most heralded returnee: senior forward Kris Joseph, who led the team in scoring a year ago at 14.3 points per game.

There's also the group's most underrated player, sophomore C.J. Fair.

This team may not have that dominant player - a lottery pick - but what it does have is strength in its numbers. So much so that Boeheim doesn't seem at all concerned about replacing the production of graduated big man Rick Jackson - who averaged a double-double last year.

"This is the deepest team we've had in many years," Boeheim admitted. "I think we've got a chance."
Posted on: November 7, 2011 2:27 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 2:44 pm

Boeheim: Huggins has best shot of catching K

By Jeff Goodman

Seth Davis' show "Courtside" will have a special preseason edition tonight on CBS Sports Network at 9 p.m. ET.

Gary Parrish, Mike DeCourcy, Jon Rothstein, Jim O'Connell and myself were panelists for the show - and one of the numerous topics we discuss is Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and whether anyone can catch him once he breaks Bob Knight's record of 902 and becomes the all-time winningest men's coach in Division 1.

Jim Boeheim is just 44 wins behind Coach K, but is about 2 1/2 years older than Krzyzewski - who enters the season with 900 career victories.

I posed the question to Boeheim, who turns 67 later this month, on Monday that maybe he'd have a shot - if K retires in the next few years and Boeheim sticks in out a few years beyond K.

"He's not returning anytime soon," Boeheim said. "I think Mike will coach another 10 years. I wouldn't be surprised at all."

The guy who Boeheim thinks would have a shot - if he took care of himself from a health-standpoint?

West Virginia's Bob Huggins.

"He's got a lot of wins - and he'll try and coach forever," Boeheim said. "He's about the only one out there who could possibly do it."

But even if the 58-year-old Huggins stays healthy, it's a stretch.

He has 691 career victories. Let's say he goes 12 more years (until he's 71) and averages about 25 wins per year (which is what he's averaged in his four years at West Virginia).

That would put him just shy of 1,000 victories.

Coach K has 900 right now and has been averaging about 29 wins per year - and he'll likely eclipse to the 1,000-win mark in 2014-15.

Photo: AP
Posted on: October 25, 2011 2:34 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 2:44 pm

Top-10 DaJuan Coleman picks hometown 'Cuse

By Jeff Borzello

The first time a big man named Coleman came out of Syracuse, he was an All-American in college and an NBA All-Star.

Now, head coach Jim Boeheim will get the closest thing to Derrick Coleman, as five-star center DaJuan Coleman committed to the Orange on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference at his high school.

"The school I'll be attending this coming fall will be . . . ," Coleman said, before donning a Syracuse hat. He said that he has known he wanted to pick the Orange for the last month, but took visits to Ohio State and Kentucky just to make sure.

"I wanted to make the right decision," he said. 

While DaJuan Coleman has no blood relation to Derrick Coleman, they have similar build and both are legends in Upstate New York. The elder Coleman did his damage at the college level, but the high school version has dominated at Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) for years.

Make no mistake; this was a recruit Syracuse could not afford to lose.

Coleman was right in the Orange’s backyard, and had been on the Syracuse campus a number of times. His high school teammate, Brandon Triche, is currently a starting guard for Boeheim, and the Orange have been the favorite since the beginning for Coleman’s services.

"It's close to home," Coleman said. "Hanging out with the players, they made me feel like I was home."

Moreover, whenever Kentucky’s involved, the smart money seems to always be on John Calipari and the Wildcats. In head-to-head battles over the past few years, Calipari has rarely lost, racking up the top recruiting class in the country more often than not. For Syracuse to defend its home territory and beat Kentucky – and Ohio State – for a five-star recruit, it’s a big win for the Orange.

As for Coleman, he should make an immediate impact for the Orange. With Fab Melo potentially leaving after this coming year, and Baye Moussa Keita and Rakeem Christmas very raw offensively, Coleman will add a dimension Syracuse will be lacking.

The No. 9-ranked recruit in CBSSports.com’s class of 2012, Coleman is a 6-foot-9 center who is one of the more dominant low-post prospects in the country. He carves out space down low with his mammoth, 280-lb. body. Once he gets position, his good hands and assortment of moves make him difficult to stop with his back to the basket. He rebounds extremely well in his area, and controls the lane defensively. Coleman has improved his passing and face-up game, but he still needs to get in better shape on a consistent basis.

"A double-double guy every game," Coleman said.  

With his talent level and potential, Syracuse could have its next All-America big man – and his last name just happens to be Coleman.

Photo: Syracuse Post-Standard

Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 9:40 am

For Big East, realignment overshadows basketball

By Jeff Borzello

NEW YORK – This year’s Big East Media Day featured the likes of Jim Boeheim, Jamie Dixon and others.

Once the conference shakeup is over, what will it look like? Will we have Donnie Jones, James Dickey and Matt Doherty instead?

The overarching theme of the 2011 Big East media day was, unsurprisingly, realignment. Boeheim, Dixon, Mike Brey, Jim Calhoun, Rick Pitino, Jay Wright, Bob Huggins and the other nine coaches in the conference were each peppered with countless questions about who is going where, when it’s happening and what they think of it.

Many of the coaches clearly were getting tired of the same questions, over and over.

“I think it sucks like everyone else does,” Huggins told a group of reporters. “Yeah, [it’s a shame]. I think it was a shame the first time. It’s got to stop somewhere.”

The only thing set in stone right now is that Pittsburgh and Syracuse will be leaving the conference at some point, but the timeline is still indefinite. Technically, they’re not allowed to leave for more than two years, but that could be an awkward 27 months.

Dixon said the goal of Pittsburgh is not to leave the Big East without a plan for its future as a conference.

“When it’s in the best interest of the Big East for us to move, that’s when we’ll leave,” he said. “Whether it’s 27 months, 12 months or five months.”

The fate of several teams is also still undecided, with West Virginia and Louisville being linked to the Big 12, Connecticut to the ACC, Notre Dame to the ACC (and Big Ten, as always), with Rutgers also thrown around as a potential Big Ten or ACC target.

While the realignment mess could hinder some of the schools, Pitino and Brey are confident their institutions will handle it well.

“Unlike some others, we’re going to land on our feet,” Brey said. “I like the Big East, but we’ll land on our feet.”

“We’ll be fine in the Big East or in the other place,” Pitino said.

Connecticut was expected to follow suit to the ACC after Syracuse and Pittsburgh, and while that’s still a possibility, the Big 12 has also opened up as a potential landing spot for the Huskies.

Calhoun made it clear he is not sitting still and hoping everything just stays the same. He is being proactive as a result of all the changes around him.

Season tips Nov. 7

“The Big East is special, I am proud to be a member of it. But sometimes what you want is not where you end up being. We are seeing the start of change,” he said. “My obligation to UConn is to be in an advisory capacity and reach out to my friends, particularly in the ACC and Big 12 and see what’s [happening].”

When the realignment carousel eventually stops spinning – whenever that may be – it’s not a stretch to say that the Big East will look very different. There could be a 20-team football conference and a 12-team basketball conference, with some variation of Navy, Air Force, UCF, Houston, SMU and a host of other schools in the mix.

Huggins said the new faces wouldn’t change the way he views his opponents in the conference.

“They were these guys at one time,” he said of younger coaches potentially replacing the Boeheims, Dixons and Calhouns of the league. “Somebody is going to finish last and someone is going to finish first. Whether it’s someone in the league now, or someone new.

“We had 11 teams reach the NCAA tournament last year, and nine of them will still be around. That would still have been a record.”

Not everyone feels that way – Pitino thinks certain intra-conference matchups won’t carry the same juice and luster as they previously did.

“Syracuse is playing Clemson on TV tonight!” he said. “It’s not Syracuse-Georgetown.”

Conference commissioner John Marinatto opened up the media day by saying he was glad that he finally could talk about basketball – but soon was bombarded with questions about realignment. This wasn’t what Marinatto signed up for, he said. It’s not what he wanted.

His comments beg the question – if Marinatto didn’t see it coming, how did we get here?

Dixon pointed to the lack of cohesion between the basketball and football sides of the conference. A 16-team basketball conference and an eight-team football conference clearly don’t align perfectly.

“If that is the best situation, more conferences would do it,” he said. “And we’re the only one that does it.”

When it boils down to it, though, money is the biggest factor in the entire proceedings. Pitino put some of the blame on the greed of the school presidents.

“The big is eating up the small,” he said. “The presidents have always said to put the athletes first. The last thing they’ve talked about is the athletes. So there’s a bit of hypocrisy in the presidents and their answer today.”

With so many questions still waiting to be answered, no one is sure about what is next – not the coaches, athletic directors, presidents, commissioners. The future of several conferences is completely up in the air.

What’s next? Brey summed it best.

“Leagues are listed as day-to-day now.”

Photo: AP

Posted on: October 19, 2011 1:01 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 1:30 pm

Syracuse's 2003 title team was young, too

By Gary Parrish

I wrote a column last week while in Kentucky about how much the Wildcats will use freshmen this season, and I made the point in that column that "no team in the history of college basketball has ever won a national championship relying so heavily" on the type of young roster John Calipari possesses. I could still argue that's technically true because four of Kentucky's top seven figure to be freshmen, and two others are sophomores. But what I've discovered -- because a friend pointed it out -- is that Syracuse's 2003 championship roster was built similarly.

Three of the top five scorers were freshman -- Carmelo Anthony (22.2 ppg), Gerry McNamara (13.3), Billy Edelin (9.0).

Hakim Warrick (14.8 ppg) was the second-leading scorer.

He was a sophomore.

Josh Pace (4.3) and Craig Forth (3.8) were sixth and seventh in scoring.

They were both sophomores, too.

The lone senior on the team was Kueth Duany.

He averaged 11.0 points per game.

So, yes, Kentucky's top seven this season will be technically younger than Syracuse's top seven was in 2003 because UK will use four freshmen, two sophomores and a senior instead of three freshmen, three sophomores and a senior. But, obviously, it's close. And I just thought that was something worth noting.

Also worth noting ...

That Syracuse team lost its season-opener.

The coach who beat them?

John Calipari.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:18 pm

Podcast: Midnight Madness storytelling

By Matt Norlander

Today marks the first full week of college basketball season, and so, with diametric diligence, we're going to get after in full, too. From now through the end of the season, we'll be delivering three podcasts per week to you. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays is when you can find the new episodes. Subscribe to iTunes. Or the RSS feed. Or, if you're one of those with a Zune, yeah we've got you covered, too.

Season tips Nov. 7
Goodman and Parrish will appear pretty much once per week, and normally they'll get hump day duty. (This week, however, they'll be on Friday.) Borzello, who joins me on today's podcast, will also be a frequent guest, but in no way, shape or form is he worthy of regularly scheduled appearances.

On today's episode, Borzello and I recap our trips to Syracuse and UConn, respectively, and really expand on who Syracuse is and how successful it can be this year. Then we talk which recruits hit up which schools, and which of those Borzello thinks is most likely not to commit tothe school he was at Friday.

We wrap up things with an eight-minute conversation that tweaks and prods at the Top 25 (and one) Parrish and Goodman compiled last week. Duke too high at 6? What about Cinci and A&M -- are they getting too much respect? And which teams deserved to be ranked that weren't? (I forget to mention my belief Washington is a top-25 team.)

Enjoy. And forgive me for all my uhs. I'm working on that. I will never apologize my nougaty tenor tone, though.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com