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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 / February 20.
  • Cheek on the Villanova Visit

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    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Dominic Cheek took his second official visit this weekend, and got home in time to play in the Ed die Griffin Challenge at Rutgers.

    The Villanova visit went better than the game.

    Cheek, a senior at St. Anthony in Jersey City, and the New Jersey Seniors lost to their Philly counterparts, 91-90, completing a never-before achieved Philly sweep of the event.

    As for the visit, Cheek attended Villanova’s Hoop Mania on Friday night, where he was joined by 2009 Wildcat commits Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou and Isaiah Armwood, 2010 commit James Bell and Apex Academies 6-8 junior Markus Kennedy.

    “It was crazy, everybody was chanting my name and everything. T-Pain was out there performing,” Cheek said. “I felt comfortable because it’s not like it’s my first time time out there. I’ve been out there a couple of times. I’m real good friends with the players and everything.”

    Wayns, who won the Hustle aware for the Philly seniors in Sunday’s victory, was Cheek’s teammate this summer on the USA U-18 National Team, and he is working hard on Cheek.

    “I’m just trying to get him to come, telling him how he’ll fit in and trying to convince him every day to come over with me,” Wayns said. “We talk every day, and most of the time it’s not even about ‘Nova because we’re close friends. If he decides to come, that would be a great thing.”

    Cheek visited Kansas’ Late Night in the Phog last weekend and still has visits slated for Pitt (Oct. 31), Indiana (Nov. 7) and Memphis (Nov. 14). He said he also plans to take an unofficial visit to Rutgers. The NCAA early signing period runs Nov. 12-19, but it’s possible Cheek could wait until the spring to sign.

    As for the Kansas visit, Cheek said he enjoyed that as well.

    “Oh, Kansas that was a great experience,” Cheek said. “The place was sold out. Defending national champions. They put the banner up. It was crazy out there.”

    Cheek also had an opportunity the following day to scrimmage with the reigning NCAA champs.

    “It was fun,” he said. “I got to play with Sherron Collins and them.”

    Cheek has former teammates at Kansas [Tyshawn Taylor], Pitt [Travon Woodall] and Rutgers [Mike Rosario].

    “If I have any questions [about Pitt], I can ask Travon because he’s my last year’s teammate and everything and he’s there already,” Cheek said.

    As for asked Taylor, Cheek said, “I asked him, ‘Does he have a great relationship with the coach and everything and does he like the academics and everything?'”

    And has Taylor been working hard on getting Cheek to Kansas?

    “Yeah, Tyshawn been working real hard,” Cheek said. “Telling me that he needs me down there and I’m the missing piece to the puzzle.”

    Cheek said he plans to take the remaining visits to Pitt, Indiana and Memphis and will visit Rutgers unofficially.

    “Everything’s going good right now,” he said.

    Is he getting tired of all the phonecalls from coaches and recruiting gurus?

    “Yeah, definitely, he said.

    And what kind of player will he be at the next level?

    “I know I can come in and be a team player, get everybody involved and everything,” he said. “Do the little things like rebound, pass and make open shots.”

    As to when he’ll decide, Cheek said, “Right now, I’m not sure.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.

    • there is much talk about cheek and strickland but there is limited talk about tamir jackson. he not going to jump out of the gym for the oop but will be the person deliver the perfect pass for the oop off glass. what he does that the aforemention all americans dont do is put on the hard hat! whether it is malik wayns or lance stephenson, tamir wants the defensive assignment. he can get to the basket, knock down the long ball and makes everyone around him better…ask cheek!

      this is not to diminish the work of strickland and cheek but to speak about the lack of appreciation for hard nose basketball that is exhibited everytime Tamir Javckson is on the court.

      Like Garfinkle said during the EGC, “Rice got a steal!” With Braun at the helm pieces will be put in place for Tamir to flourish on the next level. By 2012, Rice will have a lot more espn games!

    • I agree totally and have always been a big supporter of Tamir’s. Check the archives on ZAGSBLOG. I flew down to Benton, Ky last year and watched him hang 29 on Brandon Jennings and wrote about it for my old paper and the blog. Cheek is getting attention now because he has yet to commit.