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HANKY-PANKEY: Star withdraws from Molloy, likely to land at St. Anthony’s

The 6-foot-8 sophomore, who is one of the city's top players in the Class of 2010, was using the phone inside the Briarwood school, which is against school rules. It was later revealed that the phone belonged to another student who reported it stolen, according to sources.The phone belonged to another member of the boys' basketball program, but not one of Pankey's teammates on the varsity team, sources told the TimesLedger. Pankey was given an option - face expulsion or withdraw from the school and transfer. He chose to leave and, as of Tuesday, had yet to enroll in another school, sources said.Pankey could not be reached for comment, although sources said Pankey purchased the phone from a fellow student and didn't realize until later it was stolen."The school's position is that he withdrew from school," said Athletic Director Mike McCleary, who declined further comment.Pankey, who last year became the first freshman since Kenny Anderson to get major minutes on the Molloy varsity team, was second on the Stanners in scoring, averaging 15.1 points per game. He was going to be one of the top juniors in the CHSAA next year and was to again team up with Russ Smith to make a dangerous inside-outside combination.Longtime Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran said he didn't know why Pankey had left the school and hadn't spoken to his former player as of Monday night."I got along with him really well and I never had a problem with him," Curran said. "He was only a 15-year-old sophomore and he had a good future in front of him if he applied himself. He has unlimited potential. To lose a guy like him is tough, but sometimes you can't control what happens."Pankey, a Bronx native who has drawn interest from Big East schools St. John's, Connecticut, Seton Hall and Rutgers, is mulling his options. He is likely to transfer to New Jersey powerhouse St. Anthony's in Jersey City, a school that called Molloy about Pankey's transcripts, according to sources.Coached by legendary Bob Hurley, St. Anthony's completed a perfect 32-0 season Monday, winning its record 25th championship and 10th Tournament of Champions title in the 20-year history of the competition.The Friars, who graduate six Division I players (Mike Rosario-Rutgers, Tyshawn Taylor-Marquette, Travon Woodall-Pittsburgh, Jio Fontan-Fordham, A.J. Rogers-Saint Joseph's, Alberto Eastwick-Fordham) is ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today.If Pankey does land at St. Anthony's, he'll join talented returning players Dominic Cheek and Andre Tucker as the core of a Friars team looking to continue its New Jersey reign. Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@TimesLedger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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