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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / September 26.
  • Rutgers Notes: Sofman, Webb, Rosario, Balocka

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    Sofman_rutgersHere are a few quick hits related to Rutgers hoops…

    **West Milford native Justin Sofman will visit Iona April 18 and Albany April 23. He is also hoping to visit Monmouth.  The 6-4 Sofman recently requested a transfer from Rutgers after receiving limited playing time as a freshman. We hear RU coach Fred Hill tried to convince him to stay, but Sofman saw limited PT ahead with wings Jaron Griffin, Earl Pettis and Mike Rosario in the fold. Sofman would have to sit out the NCAA-mandated one year upon transferring, but he could be a good fit at one of the aforementioned schools. Iona has a new coach in Kevin Willard, a former Rick Pitino assistant, and is bringing in a talented group of players, including locals Scott Machado (St. Benedict’s), Keon Williams (Hackensack) and Kyle Smyth (Don Bosco). Monmouth is local so he could still stay in touch with friends at Rutgers.

    Quis1**It appears that former Rutgers and Paterson Catholic standout Marquis Webb has been waived from the Wellington Saints of the New Zealand pro league. Webb averaged 17.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game during his brief stint at the club. He previously did stints in Hungary and in the NBDL.

    “Marquis did a good job, but it was a question of positional needs at this time in relation to our opposition,” Saints coach Doug Marty told the Dominion Post.

    “There’s a lot of big rebounding teams in the league and it has been a weakness of ours this season.”

    Webb, a natural point guard, looked a quality player at times but was essentially being asked to play out of position at forward.

    “I feel for Marquis. He really did contribute and we sat down and made that clear. He understands that as a professional player you have to understand there are certain positional needs,” Marty said.

    Rosario_rutgers**Rosario, the McDonaldls’ All-American and RU recruit, was named MVP of the ‘High School Weekly’  program, but host Mike Quick said on the air Tuesday night that Rosario “blew off” the interview while “we held up our end of the bargain.” Not sure what went down with that one.

    Dexter Strickland on 2nd-team, Mike? The kid’s good enough for North Carolina and not good enough for your 1st team? Have to say we disagree with that call, my man.

    Petras_balocka**Former RU recruiting target Petras Balocka of Pensacola Junior College has committed to Hawaii, according to the Honolulu Advertiser. Here’s the relevant excerpt of the story:

    Balocka is a 6-foot-8, 250-pound power forward from Vilnius, Lithuania. Parghalava is a 6-2, 175-pound shooting guard from Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.

    Balocka averaged 13.7 points and 11.2 rebounds as a sophomore last season. He finished second in rebounding in Region 8 of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

    “He had 19 double-doubles for us last year in what is probably the best junior college league in the country,” Pensacola coach Paul Swanson said. “He’s a really strong, powerful player.”

    Swanson said Balocka was a perimeter player in Lithuania, and is still learning how to play in the low post.

    “He can shoot it a little from the outside, even though he has kind of an odd shooting form,” Swanson said. “But his body type is built for the post. He really improved with us, and I think he’ll only get better.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.