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Monday, Jan. 5, 2015: We've seen odd free throws before, but this is crazy

   Leading off today: What's that, you say? You want a little levity to warm up a chilly first Monday of the year?

   Well, we at the New York State Sportswriters Association are at your service and present you this video from a girls basketball game in Pennsylvania last week, which reminds us that Shaquille O'Neal missed more than 5,000 free throws in his NBA career ... but never in the fashion in which Kelsy Swartz did.

   Playing in the consolation round of a tournament in Hermitage, Pa., the Mercer High player literally broke the basket with a shot that hit the front of the rim:

   The incident delayed Mercer's game vs. Edinboro (Pa.) General McLane for 45 minutes while the rim was replaced. General McLane High would go on to win the contest 59-32.

   Burke investigation decision coming? Results of the investigation into alleged recruiting by the John S. Burke Catholic boys basketball team are expected to be revealed Tuesday, The Times Herald-Record reported, but it's not a certainty a decision will be announced.

   Attorney John T. McCann, hired to lead the investigation, will present his report to Section 9's 18-member athletic council, which will decide how to proceed with the school if any of the allegations are deemed to have merit.

   Allegations against the Burke program surfaced in May in a report conducted by the law firm Bond, Schoeneck and King. Middletown Superintendent Dr. Ken Eastwood initiated the investigation with the backing of five school districts -- Middletown, Washingtonville, Monroe-Woodbury, New Paltz and Valley Central.

   The paper points out that at least five members of the athletic council have connections to the five districts involved in the complaint against Burke Catholic and likely will recuse themselves from voting or ruling on the school's fate.

   Catching up on wrestling: New York Wrestling News posted fresh class-by-class individual rankings for the state on Thursday.

   Every section of the NYSPHSAA as well as the PSAL and CHSAA can claim at least one wrestler ranked in the top three of a weight class. Suffolk County leads the way with five No. 1 spots and 14 wrestlers in the top three.

   Alumni news: Injured Syracuse University post player Dajuan Coleman will not get on the court this season as he continues to recover from knee surgery, coach Jim Boeheim said on the weekly ACC conference call.

   "He's had some soreness and stiffness the last couple practices," Boeheim said of the former Jamesville-DeWitt star. "He's not going to play this year."

   Coleman is eligible for a medical redshirt, but there has been lingering speculation his career could be over because of the nature of his knee injury.

   Meanwhile, Jon Severe has rejoined the Fordham basketball team. The NYSSWA's 2013 Class AA player of the year for Christ the King had taken a five-week leave of absence in late November.

   He came off the bench to contribute nine points and an assist in 20 minutes, also recording five turnovers and four fouls.

   Ex-assistant denies involvement: Richard Fields, the Westchester Community College men's basketball assistant fired amid a transcript scandal involving former star players, claims the school slandered him by saying he manufactured

  
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a player's transcript, The Journal News reported.

   Fields filed a notice of claim against WCC, alleging school officials knowingly made false statements to the paper that he admitted providing a phony transcript to Florida A&M for Jamell Walker. The paper revealed last fall that Walker and former WCC player Damien Davis had their scholarships yanked at Florida A&M because of transcript fraud, but Fields denies being involved.

   The WCC transcript scandal caused several players with New York high school connections to either have scholarships rescinded or have their careers put on hold pending the completion of additional classes. The state Office of the Inspector General has launched a criminal investigation into the transcript fraud, the paper reported.

   Sigh: NYSSWA editor Neil Kerr, the retired Post-Standard high school sports guru, and I have had a running conversation about college football for about a month inspired by the new four-team playoff system.

   Neil sent along this over the weekend:

   "A reader asks: With the first-ever Division I college football playoffs now taking place, will a New York state college team ever qualify for the Final Four tournament?

   "The correct answer is, of course, (a.) Not in our lifetime, Bub.

   "If that sounds harsh, look at the latest Sagarin Football Ratings, a computer-driven way of ranking all 252 Division One college football teams in the nation."

   There are 11 New York college teams (a combination of FBS and FCS programs) among the 252 ranked schools.


Here's where they were ranked late last month:

  • 99. Syracuse, 3-9
  • 114. Fordham, 11-3
  • 136. Buffalo, 5-6
  • 154. Army, 4-8
  • 163. Albany, 7-5
  • 178. Stony Brook, 5-7
  • 184. Wagner, 7-4
  • 194. Colgate, 5-7
  • 235. Marist, 4-7
  • 238. Cornell, 1-9
  • 250. Columbia, 0-10

       Extra points: Section 6 is going to hold its indoor track championships Feb. 20 at a facility in Section 5 territory. The Buffalo News reports Houghton College has recently opened the Kim Kerr-Pegula Fieldhouse, which has an eight-lane, 200-meter track.


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  • 5/27: Football gets approval to add a game
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  • 4/23: Boys all-state basketball (large schools)
  • 4/22: Westhill hoops star dies in crash
  • 4/16: Boys all-state basketball (small schools)
  • 4/8: LuHi girls coach Slater steps down
  • 3/24: NYSPHSAA ends winter sports season
  • 3/18: Davis, Poole capture BCANY honors
  • 3/18: Weekly NYC boys basketball recap
  • 3/13: Dutchess Co. teams idle until April 30
  • 3/12: A day unlike any other in H.S. sports
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