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.
Isaiah Armwood, a 6-foot-7, 178-pound power forward from Baltimore Montrose Christian who played high school ball with Kevin Durant, has committed to Villanova.
Armwood, No. 15 among power forwards and No. 43 overall in the Class of 2009, chose the Wildcats over Texas and Syracuse.
“It’s one of the biggest decisions I had to make in my whole life,” Armwood said Tuesday by phone. “I have to spend four years there, so wherever I chose I had to be comfortable.”
Armstrong joins Maalik Wayns, a point guard out of Philly Roman Catholic who attended last week’s Steve Nash Nike Skills Academy, in Villanova’s 2009 recruiting class. Duke transfer Taylor King will also suit up in ’09.
Armstrong said he made the decision over the past week. He is friendly with Villanova players Scottie Reynolds and Dante Cunningham, which facilitated his decision.
“Over the past week, me and my family have really been talking about it a lot,” he said. “We both felt really good about this decision that I made.”
A combo forward in high school, Armstrong sprained his MCL in mid-January and missed half of last season, finishing with averages of about 12 points and 8 rebounds per game for a nationally ranked team that finished 22-4. He attempted to return for a game against Seton Hall-bound point guard Jordan Theodore and Paterson Catholic in the PrimeTime Shootout, but wasn’t 100 percent.
Armwood hopes to eventually become a pure three man.
“He’s a very athletic player,” said Montrose Christian coach Stu Vetter. “He dunks the ball. He’s a high riser in terms of dunks. He can shoot the basketball and he fills the lanes very well, which is an art in itself. He has a high basketball IQ. He knows how to play basketball.”
“I’m an athletic guy that they’ve never seen before (at Villanova),” Armwood said. “Right now in high school I play the three/four. I’m still working on the transition to the perimeter. I want to work on my perimeter ballhandling.”
During his freshman year, Armwood teamed with Durant, then a senior, who went on to earn National College Player and NBA Rookie of the Year awards.
Vetter said Syracuse and Texas had a shot, but Villanova head coach Jay Wright and assistant Pat Chambers were persistent and impressive in their recruitment.
“They were down here a lot,” Vetter said. “I was very impressed with the relationship Coach Wright and Coach Chambers developed over time with Isaiah.”
With his decision now behind him, Armwood looks forward to his senior summer and final year of his high school campaign.
“Yes, and it gives me a chance to concentrate on my academics,” he said.
JOHNSON TO SYRACUSE
According to Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com, Iowa State transfer Wesley Johnson is headed to Syracuse. The long and athletic 6-foot-7 Texas native chose Syracuse shortly after his visit. “I knew it was right,” he told FOXSports.com. “I like their offense and I’ve been watching them play for years.”
Johnson will sit out this season and be eligible in 2009-10. Then he could team with Jonny Flynn and Paul Harris to form a potent combo.
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.