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.
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Isaiah Epps is a scorer.
The rising junior from Plainfield HIgh School dropped 30 points in his first game for the Playaz Red Friday and he will be on display Sunday when the Playaz take on the New Jersey Shoreshots in the quarterfinals of the Reebok Summer Classic at Rider University.
A slew of Division I coaches, including scouts from Rutgers, Seton Hall, Pitt, St. John’s, Georgia Tech, West Virginia, Temple and Stony Brook, watched the Playaz on Friday afternoon. The team also includes potential high-major players Fuquan Edwin, Jermaine Peart and Trevor Clemmings of Paterson Catholic and Cameron Ayers of Germantown Academy.
“It’s good (playing in front of the coaches) because they can see your game,” Epps said.
The 6-3 Epps holds offers from Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. Joe’s, Pitt and Maryland and recently returned from an unofficial visit to Maryland.
“It was real good, I liked the campus,” Epps said. “I like how they said that as soon as I go in there, I’m going to be starting right away. I like the academics, the schoolwork. I like all of it.”
“This is the guard they’ve targeted in the Class of 2010,” former Plainfield coach Pete Vasil said. “They’re looking for him to play major minutes.
Epps, who averaged 16.5 points, 6.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 steals for a Cardinals team that finished 18-7, plans to take some time before deciding, though.
“I’m still young, so I don’t know what school I’m looking for right now,” he said.
It has been an emotional few weeks for Epps and the entire Plainfield team. Vasil was asked to re-interview for his job, and chose to step down instead. The players briefly protested, saying they wouldn’t play unless Vasil was the coach .
“We tried to do that but it didn’t work,” Epps said.
School officials recently hired Jeff Lubreski to replace Vasil.
“Pete Vasil was a good coach, but I don’t know what happened,” Epps said. “We call (Lubreski) ‘Coach L.'”
Epps will be 18 during his junior year and thus will not be permitted by state regulations to compete for Plainfield as a senior, unless he seeks a waiver. He said he plans to enroll in prep school to mature physically and socially instead.
“I have to go to prep school,” he said. “I’m still looking.”
QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS (All games at 9:40)
NJ Shoreshots vs. Playaz Red
New Heights 2009 vs. Grassroots Canada
Juice All Star vs. Cecil Kirk
New Heights 2010 vs. Playaz Gold
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.