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.
John Wall is getting some big help next year at Word of God Academy in Raleigh, N.C.
Keith “Tiny” Gallon, a 6-9, 290-pound forward from Humble, Texas, will play with Wall at Word of God.
“Yeah, me and J-Wall,” Gallon said in a text message written from a plane bound for Brazil for a Nike event. “That’s like my brother and I’m happy playing with family. He’s a good passer and scorer and I’m the same thing, so we ain’t gonna lose.”
Gallon spent last season at Oak Hill Academy alongside Brandon Jenningsbut Oak Hill coach Steve Smith said he will not return there.
“He can’t come back to Oak Hill,” Smith said by phone. “Once we informed his mother of that, she started looking around.”
Wall is the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2009 and is considering numerous schools, including Baylor, Memphis, Oregon, Oklahoma State, N.C. State, Kentucky and Kansas, although many observers figure he’ll land at Baylor because his former summer coach, Dwon Clifton, was recently hired as Director of Player Development at Baylor.
Gallon said he is considering UNLV, USC, UCLA, Cal and Oklahoma. (Here’s a good story on him from this summer.)
Word of God should be absolutely loaded now with Wall; Gallon; 2011 star guard Bishop Daniels, who transferred in from Raleigh Leesville Road; N.C. State commit C.J. Leslie; and 2011 prospect Dezmine Wells. We also hear LaQuinton Ross, one of the elite players in the Class of 2011, could also be transferring in from Jackson (Miss.) Callaway.
Oak Hill is losing both Gallon and Georgia Tech commit Brian Oliver, but is bringing in Tommy-Mason Griffin, Doron Lamb (formerly of Bishop Loughlin) and 6-11 Baye Moussa Keita, a junior from Senegal who had eight rebounds in 19 minutes in the Jordan Brand Classic International Game played in April at Madison Square Garden. The Warriors will also return 6-7 senior Glenn Bryant. Smith also plans to add one more frontcourt player.
When Gallon texted me, he and Mason-Griffin were on a plane bound for Brazil. Those two are among nine players who will represent the United States and travel to Brazil to compete against some of the top teams in South America from August 16-23, according to a report on NYCHoops.net. The group will visit three cities, play four games and gain a world of knowledge through various cultural experiences. Brazilian NBA star Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers will also join the players on the trip.
The select team will consist of Gallon, Mason-Griffin, Avery Bradley (Bellarmine Prep/Tacoma, WA), Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (Tilton/Tilton, MA), Xavier Henry (Putnam City/Oklahoma City, OK), Milton Jennings (Pinewood Prep/Summerville, SC), Alex Oriakhi (Tilton School/Tilton, NH), Daniel Orton (Bishop McGuinness/Oklahoma City, OK) and Phil Pressey (Episcopal School of Dallas/Dallas, TX).
“The Brazil exhibition tour is the final elite youth event of the summer and it will allow our players an opportunity to continue their international playing experiences,” said Raphael Chillious, Elite Youth Business Manager. “This is a once in a lifetime trip for most of these kids to expose them to the global game and we hope they will benefit just as much from the educational aspects we have incorporated into the trip as the basketball.”
(Photo courtesy Las Vegas Sun)
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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.