Sunday, November 20, 2011
Coach: Isaiah Whitehead still likes Cuse
By Matt Ehalt Special to ESPNNewYork.com
Lincoln High coach Dwayne Morton is denying a report that top sophomore boys basketball recruit Isaiah Whitehead has cut Syracuse from his list of schools.
A report published by the New York Post on Sunday quoted Whitehead's mother, Ericka Rambert, saying that Whitehead had dropped the Orange from his list because of the allegations of molestation against Syracuse assistant Bernie Fine.
However, Morton said Rambert believed the accusations involved the head coach and not the assistant.
"His mother thought Fine was the head coach. The way she was asked led her to think it was the head coach who was involved," Morton said. "Syracuse is one of the schools that Isaiah is still interested in."
Rambert told the Post on Sunday: "Isaiah's not going there. That is out of the question. Once you hear something like that in the program, you don't want to be a part of it. You don't know who else is involved. You don't know who else knew about it. It's a lot to deal with."
Morton said he talked to both Whitehead, who was not quoted in the article, and his mother Sunday and found out that Whitehead is still considering Syracuse. The sophomore is one of the most heavily recruited point guards in New York City.
Morton said Whitehead wasn't sure exactly what is going on at Syracuse but he knows it was a different case than Penn State, where legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired after charges of sexual abuse were filed against longtime defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.
He added that Whitehead is a big fan of former Syracuse legend and current Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
Morton has not given Whitehead any advice about how to analyze a situation where a school he's considering has an assistant facing allegations. Fine and Orange coach Jim Boeheim both deny the allegations against Fine.
"I didn't tell him anything," Morton said. "Case is still ongoing."
Whitehead is the No. 20 recruit in the Class of 2014 and is also considering Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Xavier and St. John's, among others, according to ESPNU. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard is a four-star recruit.
Attempts to reach Rambert and Whitehead were unsuccessful.
Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.