NYC recruit rejects SU over allegations
Syracuse was one of the first schools to offer Isaiah Whitehead a scholarship. The Lincoln High star's favorite player is Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks forward and Syracuse alum. And Whitehead has developed a good relationship with the Orange staff.
But in light of the investigation of Syracuse men's basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine, the nationally ranked sophomore will not be attending the school, his mother, Ericka Rambert, said.
Fine has been accused of molesting two former ball boys, allegations that he and longtime Orange coach Jim Boeheim vehemently deny.
"They're definitely off his list," Rambert said. "Isaiah's not going there. That's out of the question. Once you have 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."
Rambert is not the only parent, player or coach with those concerns relating to Syracuse or Penn State -- which recently fired legendary football coach Joe Paterno for inaction in the wake of his former longtime assistant, Jerry Sandusky, being accused of multiple counts of child molestation.
The two schools have been known to recruit the New York City area furiously -- Penn State for football and Syracuse for football and basketball. The Syracuse football team has seven players from the area and Tottenville wide receiver Alvin Cornelius has verbally committed for next year.
Former Cardozo basketball star James Southerland, a junior forward, is expected to play a major role for the Orange this year. Syracuse is also actively recruiting current Cardozo standout Jermaine Lawrence, one of the top juniors in the country.
"If it's true, it leaves a queasy feeling in my stomach," Cardozo basketball coach Ron Naclerio said.
Lawrence said he would need to know more before eliminating Syracuse from his list that is 15 schools long. Bronx native Chris McCullough, a top sophomore, echoed that sentiment.