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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


December 17, 2008

De-commitment Commitment Alert: Cliff Dixon, 6'10 PF/C from Hutchinson (KS) Community College

2009-2010 Projected Roster

Seniors: Eugene Harvey (PG), John Garcia (C), Keon Lawrence (G)*
Juniors: Jeremy Hazell (G/F), Brandon Walters (BF/C), Mike Davis (PF/C), Robert Mitchell (G/F)
Sophomores: Jordan Theodore (PG), Melvyn Oliver** (C), Herb Pope (PF)
Freshmen: None

* currently applying for a hardship waiver that would have him on the court in December for the 2008-2009 season. If granted, he will be a senior on the 2009-2010 roster. If denied, he will be listed as a junior

** Has yet to be cleared by the NCAA (as of 12/17/08) to be eligible to compete

*** Will sit out the 2008-2009 season per NCAA Transfer rule, having three years of eligibility beginning with the 2009-2010 season

The verbal commitment of Cliff Dixon to Seton Hall has lasted one month as Cliff Dixon is Back Open ( as he claims the Pirate staff pressured him into a commitment. Now that he has been reinstated as a member of the Hutchinson CC basketball team, he wants to see what other options will arise into the spring.

Read More...Click 'Read More' Below!!!

With at least three scholarships open for the 2009 recruiting class, Seton Hall has still not found any takers for their offers. Cliff Dixon was their lone commitment, but he has backed off that pledge, which never seemed to be a commitment set in stone from the 6-foot-10 Hutchinson big man originally from Maryland.

At the time of his commitment, Dixon was recently suspended by HCC head coach Ryan Swanson for a violation of team rules. With his future uncertain, Dixon tells Jeff Goodman of he made a hasty decision.

``I got worried and Seton Hall tried to rush me into saying I was committed,” Dixon told Goodman. “They pressured me into it and I panicked.”

Even though Dixon Decommits from Seton Hall (, he will still consider the Pirates.

“It’s a good school,” Dixon said of Seton Hall in a phone interview with Adam Zagoria of “I’m not saying I’m not going to go there. I’m saying my options are open."

“I’m looking at Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Gonzaga, Missouri, Miami, the list just goes on. I got offers from every school.”

With our without Dixon, the Pirates should have two, maybe three new faces on the court next year.

Keon Lawrence probably never should have left New Jersey out of high school. The 6'2, 175 lb guard from Newark (NJ) Weequahic High School chose Missouri, although second thoughts entered his mind often. Now, after a sophomore season where he led the Tigers in minutes played (29.2) a game, starting 20 of 32 games and leading Mizzou in field goal attempts (307), Lawrence is taking his 11 points a game and going back home.

According to Alif Muhammad, who has helped Lawrence through the recruiting process out of high school and out of Missouri, stated that Bobby Gonzalez has promised to turn the ball over to Lawrence once Eugene Harvey graduates after the 2009-2010 season. Others after Lawrence, reportedly, included Marquette, Providence, Cincinnati and others.

Rutgers was considered after high school, but their roster was a little more guard heavy at this point.

Currently, Lawrence is in the process of applying for a hardship waiver that will allow him to play during the 2008-2009 season instead of having to sit out the entire year as a normal NCAA transfer student. The central position of the waiver is that Lawrence decided to leave Missouri because of a need to be closer to home because of family issues. If the NCAA finds that the reasons of his leaving Missouri were not because of basketball, but because of these family issues, that there is a good chance of a waiver. However, the NCAA usually relies quite heavily on the input from the former school on the reason for the transfer, and it is unclear if Mizzou will completely agree with that reasoning for his transfer. We will see...

Also, Lawrence would not have been eligible to compete in the first semester of the 2008-2009 season as he would not be transferring with enough credits to be eligible as a junior student. That is a common issue for transfers as not all credits are transferable and is one of the reasons for the residency rule making so much sense in regards to transfers.

While the Pirates wait on the Lawrence waiver decision, due any day now (12/17/08), they already have gone through the process with New Mexico State transfer Herb Pope, but were denied the original waiver and the appeal. Pope is the mega-talented forward from Aliquippa (PA) but has run into trouble on more than one occasion in recent years. Pope was sent home from his final AAU Tournament as a member of the Pittsburgh Jots for an altercation with a coach, an incident that did not seem to surprise many familiar with his past. Things actually got worse from there as Pope was shot several times outside a party in the Pittsburgh-area in April of his senior year of high school after being in an altercation outside the party. Pope survived the gunfire and headed off to school at New Mexico State. While at New Mexico State, Pope was having trouble clearing the NCAA eligibility department as an online course he took in high school as a core course was challenged by the NCAA. While NM State worked to get him cleared, Pope was arrested for DUI when police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car with the engine running in a traffic lane.

Pope finally did make it onto the court at NM State after a court order was issued. Pope played well after all of the trials and tribulations that followed him in the recent past and he averaged 11 points and nearly 7 rebounds a game in the 16 games he was deemed eligible for at New Mexico State.

Pope then decided to leave New Mexico late this past summer to be closer to home. He ended up enrolling at Seton Hall and hoped to be granted a hardship waiver to play this season. However, that was denied by the NCAA and Pope will sit out the 2008-2009 season and be ready to suit up next year, giving the Pirates a much needed talent boost at power forward next year.

With the the additions of Lawrence and Pope, the Pirates still have three scholarships open. That number could increase depending on the status of Melvyn Oliver who, as of December 17th, still has not been cleared by the NCAA to be eligible. Oliver has recently been allowed by the NCAA to practice with SHU for the first time in the process. Also, John Garcia will be a 5th year senior in 2009-2010, but chronic knee problems has led to some public speculation that he might not return. However, Garcia's knees seem to be doing well early this season.

For now, it looks like the Pirates will become very active in the spring signing period filling out their roster. They have been the leader for Westchester CC 7-footer Jarrid Famous for an extended period of time, but Famous has decided to wait until the spring before signing a letter of intent and the interested schools in his talents continue to grow at a rapid pace. Former South Florida commitment Eugene Teague, a 6'7 power forward, has also made it onto the SHU radar. Teague, who failed to qualify as a 2008 recruit, is now enrolled at the Apex Academies for another year of prep and recently took an unofficial visit to Seton Hall for an exhibition game. SHU has an attractive offer to spring recruits of playing time and a chance to play in the Big East.

Seton Hall is expected to receive an official visit from Patterson (NC) School guard DeAndre Kane, a native of Pittsburgh and friend of Herb Pope's, this weekend. Kane is a tough wing guard known as a talented scorer.

With transfer students Robert Mitchell, Lawrence and Pope, SHU coach Bobby Gonzalez is not afraid to bring in transfers to increase the college basketball odd of his program winning more in the Big East. Another potential transfer this season is Jamie Skeen, a 6-foot-8, 250 lb forward. Skeen Leaves Wake (Huntersville Herald) Forest. Skeen was declared ineligible by Wake for the fall semester after violating university academic policy last spring. Earlier this month, he elected not to file the appeal necessary to return for the upcoming semester and look for a new home for the spring semester. Skeen has visited Seton Hall and VCU and is taking a trip to South Floride this weekend. He would likely have to sit out the next two semesters and be eligible next spring with a season and a half of eligibility remaining.

Skeen attended high school at North Mecklenburg (NC) High, which is also the home of athletic 6-foot-7 forward Andre Marhold who has Seton Hall on his radar for a spring period decision. The 2009 recruit did not sign with a school in the fall signing period and should find plenty of schools interested in his services as a late recruiting addition.

The Pirates have also been quite active in the class of 2010 already, being among the leaders for local standouts Jayon James, Fuquan Edwin and Shaquille Thomas, all of whom were teammates of current Pirate Jordan Theodore last season at Paterson (NJ) Catholic. St. Anthony's big man Derrick Williams as well as Plainfield's Isaiah Epps are on the Pirates' watch list as well.



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