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Feb 4, 2017; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Andrew White III (3) controls the ball as Virginia Cavaliers guard Marial Shayok (4) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 4, 2017; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Andrew White III (3) controls the ball as Virginia Cavaliers guard Marial Shayok (4) defends during the first half at the Carrier Dome. (Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)

A quick take on Syracuse's 66-62 win against Virginia on Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome:

WHAT HAPPENED: Down 34-22 coming out of intermission, Syracuse started on an 11-0 run and eventually led by as many as six points midway through the second half. 

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Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers looks on during the third quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Wake defeated Syracuse 28-9. (Jeremy Brevard)
Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers looks on during the third quarter against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Wake defeated Syracuse 28-9. (Jeremy Brevard)

Halfway through their first seasons at their schools, coaches Justin Fuente of Virginia Tech and Dino Babers of Syracuse are headed in different directions.

Fuente seems to have picked up where Frank Beamer left off: the Hokies (4-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are ranked 17th and lead the Coastal Division going into Saturday's game against the Orange in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse (2-4, 0-2 ACC) has lost four of five and faces three ranked teams in the second half of the season, its chance at the postseason seemingly out of reach already.

"There's a long season ahead of us," Fuente said. "We can take pride in winning a couple games. There's nothing wrong with that. But you've got to move past those things."

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Marco Anthony, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from San Antonio (TX) Holmes, committed to Virginia on Tuesday.

He also reportedly considered Iowa State, UTEP, Long Island, Mercer and Sam Houston State. Anthony is coach Tony Bennett's first commit in 2017.


Nickeil Alexander-Walker's AAU coach says Virginia Tech is getting a player comparable to a young Paul George.

A 6-foot-6 shooting guard in the Class of 2017, Alexander-Walker picked Virginia Tech over USC and Maryland after visiting the ACC school on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Nickeil is the best two-way player in Canada," Shane James, the Co-Director of Under Armour Canada Elite, told SNY.tv, "With his 6-foot-6 frame he can defend multiple positions and play multiple positions offensively. His biggest strength is his ability to use and finish with both hands and his feel for the game. The kid's a talent. Reminds me of a young Paul George."

Tags: Recruiting, Virginia Tech, Adam Zagoria
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Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forward Thomas Walkup reacts in the second half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Barclays Center. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forward Thomas Walkup reacts in the second half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Barclays Center. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)

No. 14 Stephen F. Austin upset No. 3 West Virginia on Friday.

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Michigan State Spartans forward Matt Costello (10) celebrates win over Binghamton Bearcats during the second half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. (Mike Carter)
Michigan State Spartans forward Matt Costello (10) celebrates win over Binghamton Bearcats during the second half of a game at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. (Mike Carter)

Michigan State is No. 1 in The Associated Press men's college basketball poll for the first time since early in the 2013-14 season.

The Spartans (9-0) jumped from third to a runaway first following last week's losses by then-Nos. 1 and 2 Kentucky and Maryland. Michigan State received 62 first-place votes Monday from the 65-member national media panel.

Kansas (6-1), which had one first-place vote, moved from fourth to second, while North Carolina, the preseason No. 1, jumped from ninth to third and received two votes for No. 1.

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DeAndre Hunter, a 6-foot-7 wing from Philadelphia Friends' Central, committed to Virginia on Saturday night.

The news was first reported by Scout.com.

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By JACK LeGWIN

Lamont West has committed to West Virginia.

The 6-foot-7 senior from Miller Grove (Ga.) said that a big part in his commitment was his relationship with coaching staff.

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By CHRIS RUSSELL

NEW YORK -- West Virginia took on N.C. State Saturday night as part of the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden.

In a sluggish battle where there were a total of 52 fouls, No. 22 West Virginia came out on top, 83-69, behind Juwan Staten?s 24 points and 6 assists.

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A?week after committing to Tennessee, Chris Clarke has flipped to Virginia Tech.

The 6-foot-5 guard from Virginia Beach (VA) Cape Henry Collegiate School ?had initially considered Virginia Tech along with Tennessee,?UConn and Creighton.

Clarke Tweeted this picture of himself, with the tagline, "I'm staying home. VT."

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Justin Robinson, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Manassas (VA) St. James, committed to Virginia Tech on Sunday.

Robinson also considered UNLV and Providence.

He is rated as the No. 22 point guard in the Class of 2015 by 247Sports composite rankings.

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Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams picked up a commitment Saturday night from Kerry Blackshear, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Orlando (FL) Evans.

"I felt really comfortable with them," Blackshear told Scout.com. "I felt comfortable with Coach Buzz and just pulled the trigger."

The No. 22 power forward in the 247Sports composite rankings, Blackshear also considered?SMU, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Clemson and Kansas State.

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Esa Ahmad, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Cleveland (Ohio) Shaker Heights who was named the Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Year,?chose West Virginia on Wednesday over Ohio State and Maryland.

"I have officially committed to the University of West Virginia! I would like to thank everyone who has recruited me!" he Tweeted.

"He chose West Virginia because of the style of play, proximity and because they have a Hall of Fame coach [Bob Huggins]," Ibby Ahmad, Esa's father, told SNY.tv. "They have tremendous pieces in place for Esa's arrival."

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It didn't take Ty Jerome long to pull the trigger for Virginia.

The 6-foot-3?Iona Prep (N.Y.) point guard?verbally committed on Tuesday after visiting the school this past weekend.

"The place is unreal. The campus, the facilities, the arena are unbelievable. The coaching staff and players are terrific people," Jerome told SNY.tv after committing.

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Virginia wasn't even on the list of schools Jarred Reuter?was considering for much of July.

The 6-foot-8 Reuter out of Brewster (N.H.) Academy was thinking about Providence, Rhode Island, Iowa and South Carolina -- and then Virginia offered him a scholarship.

That changed everything and now he is going to play for the Cavaliers.

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West Virginia on Monday signed a guard named?Billydee Williams.

He is not to be confused with Billy Dee Williams,?the actor who played Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars series and may appear in either the upcoming Star Wars Rebels or Star Wars Episode VII, which will also include Carrie Fisher,?Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill and comes out in December 2015.

Billydee Williams is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound guard/forward from Orlando, Fla. who most recently attended South Plains Community College in Texas. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at WVU.

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Marquette's loss is Virginia's gain.

Onetime Marquette commit Marial Shayok pulled the trigger for Virginia on Tuesday, heading to play for the Cavs after he decommitted from Marquette in the wake of the coaching change.

Shayok will now play against Buzz Williams, the man who recruited him to Marquette but is now coaching at Virginia Tech.

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West Virginia on Sunday landed a pledge from junior college point guard Tarik Phillip of Brooklyn and?Independence (Kan.) Community College.

"I just committed to West Virginia," the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Phillip told SNY.tv by phone. "I?feel like it was the right fit. It was close to home. The town was very nice. The players was nice. They showed me a good time. It was pretty cool."

Phillip said he also considered Memphis, Kansas and Oklahoma State, but didn't visit?them.

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Aaric Murray is on the move again.

The 6-foot-10 forward from Philadelphia was reportedly dismissed from West Virginia and the school made the following announcement.

?We came to a mutual agreement that it would be in his best interest to finish his collegiate career somewhere else,? head coach Bob Huggins said.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Of all the players on the U.S. U19 roster, Mike Tobey may be the least well known.

He's not a big-name high school star like Jahlil Okafor. He didn't forego the NBA Draft to return to campus like Marcus Smart and Jarnell Stokes. And he doesn't compete for a team coming off a Final Four like Jerami Grant or Montrezl Harrell.

The 6-foot-11 Tobey is a rising sophomore at Virginia who hopes to contribute in the frontcourt at the U19 World Championship June 27-July 7 in Prague.

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By JACK LeGWIN

Special to ZAGSBLOG

Daxter Miles is headed to West Virginia.

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Virginia Tech's Alonzo Tweedy, one of the nation's top special teams players, will vie for a roster spot this summer.

Though it?s a bit early to tell, Victor Cruz may go down as one of the top undrafted free agents in Giants? history.

Hall of Fame defensive back Emlen Tunnell is also on that list with his 79 career interceptions.

Tags: Alonzo Tweedy, marcus davis virginia tech football, New York Giants, NFL, NY Giants, ufda, undrafted free agents, va tech, Victor Cruz
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Remi Dibo, a 6-foot-9 Frenchman and forward from Casper (WY) College, signed with West Virginia on Wednesday, marking the second straight junior college player to sign with Bob Huggins.

Jonathan Holton, a 6-9 forward from Palm Beach State, signed earlier this week.

"Remi gives us outstanding size and perimeter shooting from the wing position,? said Huggins. ?His size and length should also help us at the defensive end and obviously on the backboards where we struggled mightily last year.?As a sophomore at Casper College this past season, he averaged 18.2 points, connected on 41.9 percent of his 3-point attempts, averaged 4.9 rebounds and shot 82.7 percent from the free throw line. Dibo led Casper to a 24-8 record.

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One day after?SNY.tv reported that former Rhode Island forward Jonathan Holton had verbally?committed to West Virginia on Sunday, the school made the signing official.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward signed a grant-in-aid to play for coach Bob Huggins.

Holton also considered Memphis, Maryland and Southern Miss but never visited any of those.

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Virginia Tech's Alonzo Tweedy, one of the nation's top special teams players, will be visiting the Giants this week.

One of the non-local players coming into TPC on Monday is Virginia Tech safety Alonzo Tweedy, a player known for his special teams prowess. He could be a late round pick for the Giants or any other club looking to upgrade the quality of their specials.

https://twitter.com/TonyPauline/status/322729661572448257

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft, Alonzo Tweedy, New York Giants, nfl draft, Virginia Tech Football
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N.C. State freshman guard Rodney Purvis and a trio of West Virginia Mountaineers are all transferring.

Aaron Brown, Volodymyr Gerun and Mount Vernon, N.Y., native Jabarie Hinds are all leaving Bob Huggins' program, the school announced.

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Ron Patterson liked his visit to Syracuse so much, he committed while on it.

"It just felt like home to me on my visit," Patterson told SNY.tv by phone. "A lot of love they showed me. It's a good program."

The 6-foot-3 Patterson is a former Indiana commit who also considered??Xavier, Villanova, UConn, Miami, Providence and SMU.

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Kyle Washington is off the board.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound power forward from Brewster (N.H.) Academy committed to N.C. State Sunday morning during an official visit.

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Memphis Briarcrest Christian forward Austin Nichols is working on setting up his official visits and could potentially sign late if he can't settle on a school early, his father told SNY.tv. Friday.

"We would like to commit early but I don't know if that will happen," Mark Nichols said. "It could be late. If one of these official visits doesn't slap us in the face, we may be late with it."

The 6-8, 215-pound Nichols has a tentative official set for Virginia Sept. 8, his father said.

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Former West Virginia forward Kevin Jones has discussed the parameters and is expected to agree to a three-year, partially-guaranteed, multi-million dollar contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his agent, Bill Neff, told SNY.tv.

Free agents cannot formally sign deals until July 11.

"We're just real excited because it's a good fit," Neff said. "We had a strategy. The bottom line is we wanted to get him to a certain team and this is precisely the kind of team we wanted to get him to that would develop him."

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Kevin Jones' agent says the former West Virginia star has a guarantee from one team that he will be picked in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft.

If that doesn't materialize, he expects Jones to go in the second round.

"A team in the first round has committed to him," agent Bill Neff told SNY.tv. "The question is, what does that mean? I?never trust anything other than what happens on draft night.

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Two more dominoes fell Tuesday on the transfer wire.

Matt Humphrey, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard who previously attended Boston College and Oregon, has signed a grant-in-aid to attend West Virginia.

?A Chicago native, Humphrey completed his undergraduate degree with a bachelor of arts in human development from Boston College and will have one year of eligibility remaining.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sylven Landesberg left Virginia after his sophomore season with hopes of getting drafted into the NBA.

Instead, the Queens native went undrafted and ended up playing in Israel, far from home and the bright lights of the NBA.

Still, the 6-foot-6 former Queens Holy Cross star says he doesn't regret leaving school early.

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More than 20 schools have expressed interest in Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith but he plans to trim his list this weekend.

Desiree Finney, Dorian's mother, said Florida, Texas, Louisville, Iowa State and Marquette were some of the schools involved.

"We will probably narrow it down after this weekend to the last five or three," Desiree told SNY.tv Thursday night by phone. "I'm hoping three."

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NEW YORK -- Kevin Jones is too proud, too humble and too much of a good guy to say anything more than that he is "disappointed" by what transpired over what turned out to be the final few days of his Big East career.

But his longtime friend and roommate Darryl "Truck" Bryant isn't afraid to let his feelings fly.

"We're roommates, we've been roommates for four years so of course we spoke about it but at the end of the day we both know he got jerked. We both know it," Bryant, the former St. Raymond's High School star, told SNY.tv exclusively following West Virginia's final game in the Big East Tournament, a 71-67 overtime loss to UConn.

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NEW YORK -- Rick Pitino says he doesn't know which Big East coach left Kevin Jones off the All-Big East First Team, but that someone may have just made an "oversight."

"Some coaches have their assistants fill it out and it's just an oversight and it's not mean-spirited," Pitino told SNY.tv at Madison Square Garden. "It's just an oversight. I?don't know who it was, obviously.

"It's someone who maybe lost that recruiting battle."

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NEW YORK -- At least one Big East coach failed to put West Virginia's Kevin Jones on the All-Big East First Team, and UConn's Jim Calhoun thinks that's a travesty.

"Anybody who would do that didn't play in the league this year," Calhoun told SNY.tv exclusively following No. 9 UConn's 81-67 victory over No. 16 DePaul in the Big East Tournament.

A year ago, at least one league coach failed to put UConn's?Kemba Walker?on the Big East First-Team...and we all know how that worked out.

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The Big East Conference Board of Directors announced that it has voted to terminate West Virginia's membership in the conference, effective June 30.

Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com previously reported that the Big East would get $20 million in the settlement -- $10 million from West Virginia and $10 million from the Big 12, which is loaning West Virginia the money.

?West Virginia University has acknowledged and agreed that the Court in Monongalia County, West Virginia, will enter a judgment that the Big East Conference Bylaws are valid and enforceable, and will dismiss with prejudice all of West Virginia?s claims against the Conference.? said Big East Commissioner?John Marinatto.

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The news that West Virginia has reached a $20 million settlement to leave the Big East Conference this year means that the school's basketball team has only six more regular season games left in the conference.

Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers will play Louisville Saturday in the first of their final half dozen games before the school joins the Big 12 July 1.

?This is our third straight year that we have come to West Virginia,? Louisville coach Rick Pitino said last week. ?I always request it every year. Generally you would see in the Big East that somebody would come back to you the following year, but [Big East Commissioner]?John Marinatto?s?a dear friend and I always tell him, ?Look, don?t let West Virginia come to Louisville. I?d like to visit one more time.?

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NEWARK -- Even Rick Pitino knows West Virginia was robbed.

"Syracuse would've been a goal-tend away from having a tie for second place [in the Big East] today," Pitino said after Louisville beat Seton Hall, 60-51, at the Prudential Center.

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NEW YORK???Kevin Jones tested the NBA waters after his junior season at West Virginia.

After getting feedback from NBA executives, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Mount Vernon, N.Y., native opted to return for his senior season, and it has turned out to be a wise move.

Jones leads the Big East in both scoring (20.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) and is the odds-on favorite to be named Big East Player of the Year.

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NEW YORK -- Like every other sports writer, I've been to a thousand press conferences where nothing much of interest was said.

The coaches rattle off some trite commentary on the game, and the players utter a few cliches about giving it their all and playing them one game at a time.

Ah, but a Bob Huggins press conference is something else altogether, a refreshing break from the daily grind and a non-stop flow of brutal honesty.

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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is traveling with a bodyguard after he was heckled by a fan a week ago in Las Vegas.

OK, C.J. Culliton is not being called a "bodyguard," but rather a "security" person.

"I wouldn't say it's a?bodyguard. He's the head of our security,'' Bryan Messerly, the school's sports information director, told the Charleston Gazette. "I think it's just to have someone here and if he sees something that could get out of control he can talk to the appropriate security people?[at the venue].''

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West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones of Mount Vernon,?N.Y., was named the Big East player of the week, and UConn freshman Andre Drummond was named Rookie of the Week.

Jones averaged 23 points and 14.7 rebounds in games last week against Tennessee Tech, Missouri State and Baylor in the Las Vegas Classic.

Jones moved past Seton Hall senior forward?Herb Pope?into the Big East lead in both scoring (21.0 ppg) and rebounding (11.9 rpg) for the season.

Drummond was tabbed as Big East Rookie of the Week for the second straight week and the third time this season as he scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks in Connecticut?s only game of the week, a 79-71 win against Fairfield. Drummond, who has made 25 of his last 29 field goal attempts, is averaging 9.7 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Huskies.
BIG EAST Player of the Week
KEVIN JONES, West Virginia, F, Sr.
BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
ANDRE DRUMMOND, Connecticut, C, Fr.
BIG EAST Honor Roll
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, So.
Scored 24 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 79-71 win against Fairfield.
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, F, Jr.
Scored 19 points, going 7-of-7 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line, in a win against Sacred Heart.
Kyle Kuric, Louisville, F, Sr.
Averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals, shooting 52.2 percent from the field in wins against College of Charleston and Western Kentucky.
Vincent Council, Providence, G, Jr.
Averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds in wins against New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall, F, Sr.
Averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 assists in road wins against Dayton and
Longwood.

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West Virginia junior center Aaric Murray was arrested Thursday morning in Philadelphia on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession, Philadelphia police confirmed to SNY.tv.

"He was arrested today on the 1700 block of South 20th St.," Officer Jillian Russell said by phone.

Officer Russell said that as of Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-10 Murray, 22, was still being "processed." Officer Tanya Little added that "he was most likely in jail."

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The shooting death of a police officer Thursday at Virginia Tech was especially painful for basketball coach Seth Greenberg because he knew the man.

"It's tragic," Greenberg, a New York native, told SNY.tv by phone Friday morning. "I knew the officer. It's senseless."

Deriek W. Crouse, 39, was married with five children and step-children. He?had given Greenberg a speeding ticket a year ago as the coach was rushing to get back to his office, and had also worked security at Virginia Tech basketball games.

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Huntington (West Va.) Prep coach Rob Fulford may be the only high school basketball coach in the country with players committed to both Missouri and West Virginia.

"I think so," he said.

In 6-foot-9 power forward?Stefan Jankovic?and 6-6 small forward?Negus Webster-Chan,?Huntington has two players who will sign with Missouri Thursday during an event at the school.

Tags: Articles, Huntington Prep, Missouri, West Virginia, Adam Zagoria
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Maybe West Virginia was distracted by the lawsuits.

Or maybe Division 2 Northern Kentucky is just that good.

Whatever the case,?Eshaunte Jones?hit a 25-footer with 1.1 seconds remaining to give Northern Kentucky a stunning 77-74 victory over West Virginia on Friday night in Morgantown, West Va.

Tags: West Virginia, Adam Zagoria
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Conference realignment has now gotten to the point where leagues are suing their member schools and vice versa.

The Big East Conference on Friday filed suit against West Virginia University in Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County.

This breach of contract lawsuit seeks an order requiring West Virginia to comply with the Big East Bylaws, as well as damages resulting from West Virginia?s improper attempted withdrawal in violation of those Bylaws.

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Terry Henderson is one of three West Virginia basketball recruits who can't be certain what league he'll be playing in next season.

"He was more enticed by the West Virginia program as it were, and if they move to the Big 12 he'll be fine," Ken Adrian, Henderson's coach at Raleigh (N.C.) Neuse Baptist Christian School, told SNY.tv. "I mean he'll be playing high level whatever league they're in."

West Virginia is suing the Big East so it can leave immediately and join the Big 12 in 2012, but Big East Commissioner?John Marinatto?says the suit is "wholly without merit" and he intends to hold West Virginia -- along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh (ACC)-- in the Big East until June 30, 2014.

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