New York's most controversial tabloid sports reporter fouls out in a lazy whodunit. Pro hoops stars Ellis ``Fresh'' Adair and Richie Collins are two kids from the projects who have made it big. African-American Fresh is basketball's most skilled player since Michael Jordan. Richie, a Latino, made his name by getting the ball to Fresh. Together, they bring the New York Knicks to another level and as their reward are admired by millions of strangers--a familiar situation that Lupica milks for all it's worth. Fresh and Richie gain unwanted notoriety when Hannah Carey, a blond fitness instructor with a past, accuses the two of rape. Enter the book's nominal hero, Tony DiMaggio, a former baseball player turned sports sleuth who is hired by the Knicks to get to the bottom of this mess before the cops do. He discovers that Richie, a wolf in point guard's clothing, was indeed the rapist; Fresh, for reasons later made clear, wanted no part of Hannah, who, it seems was infatuated with A.J., yet another Knick. Later, Richie's trouble keeping his pants on earns him an ice pick in the heart--and Fresh is nowhere to be found. As DiMaggio digs up more dirt, he discovers that Fresh is innocent, on the run for more personal reasons. To find Richie's killer, DiMaggio follows the trail of broken hearts leading away from the dead hoopster's coffin. He learns that Richie was a serial rapist who believed that every woman was ``asking for it,'' especially from him, a bona fide superstar. This otherwise interesting bit of insight into the mind of a pro jock serves as the foundation for many red herrings, but the real killer, like the entire book, is obvious. Setting his thriller in the pro basketball universe, Lupica (Dead Air, 1986, etc.) slavishly follows the adage ``write what you know'' but forgets to make it interesting.