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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 / March 20.
  • Cheek Down to Two; Hurley on Taylor, Rosario; Drummond Gets Releases

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    **[Read the Rivals story I wrote on Cheek here].

    Dominic Cheek will choose between Kansas and Villanova and will announce his decision Friday at a 6 o’clock press conference at the Golden Door Charter School in Jersey City, according to a report in the Jersey Journal.

    “For six months I thought it was going to be Villanova or Kansas and I don’t think anything has changed,” St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said Wednesday by phone. “The decision is being made by this kid.”

    The 6-foot-5 Cheek, the No. 6 shooting guard in the Class of 2009, had initially included Memphis, Pittsburgh and Rutgers on his list but has apparently cut them.

    Hurley said he plans to run a two-hour practice beginning at 3:30 on Friday and no announcement will be made until it’s over, probably around 6.

    “I’m trying to take this basketball team and make sense out of it,” Hurley said. “We’re in season, we’re fighting for our lives.”

    Cheek is suffering from tendonitis and is not currently practicing with the team.

    Cheek has visited the Villanova campus on several occasions and is close friends with incoming freshman Maalik Wayns, who teamed with Cheek on the USA U-18 National Team that traveled last summer to Argentina.

    “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 recently. “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.”

    As for Kansas, the Jayhawks are the defending national champs and desperately need a wing player now that Xavier Henry of Oklahoma Putnam City has chosen Memphis over Kansas.

    Cheek visited Kansas for “Late Night in the Phog,” when the team raised its national championship banner.

    “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.”


    Coach Hurley also commented on former players Tyshawn Taylor of Kansas and Mike Rosario of Rutgers.

    On Taylor, the Big 12 Rookie of the Week: “I’ve seen every game because of the TV package. I talked to him on the phone the other night. He’s happy, he’s getting a chance to play. Coach [Bill] Self is kicking his behind and pushing him and he’s enjoying every minute of it.”

    On Rosario, who said he was frustrated with his teammates after Sunday’s loss at home to Binghamton: “I spoke to him the other night after they lost and he’s lost more games already this year (three) than he’s lost in his last two years of high school (one) and he’ll lose more games by early January than he lost his whole high school varsity career (four), so it’s something you gotta deal with it.

    “Everybody there, including him, they all have to work to get better. Everybody’s got to get better. The coaches got to get better, the players got to get better, they’ve got to get more players. They’ve got do do a million things that the teams that aren’t winning have to do.

    “To watch them, they look like they’re playing hard but they’re just not there. They just need more players.”


    Villanova has granted releases to Siena, Marist and Boston University to allow them to speak with Casiem Drummond about transferring. The 6-foot-10 Drummond announced his intentions to leave Villanova and will have one and a half years of eligibility remaining. He visited Marist this past weekend.

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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.

    • adam, will the press conference air on any tv stations?

    • I hope Tyshawn Taylor has Cheek on the horn everyday talking about how much he loves Lawrence and playing at Kansas.

    • maalik wayns does that everyday about nova

    • I know ESPNU had interest in showing it, but I’m not sure the status…Will try to find out.

    • Why Nova? If Dom has the Pros in his future plans Nova is not the place. Look at the McDonald All Americans and highly recruited guards that have gone to Nova and where they have ended up. Foye was a lottery pick but is being exposed in the Pros because of lack of development at Nova. Ray is in Italy. Lowry can’t get off the bench. Reynolds was a potential Lottery pick coming out of HS and he will not get drafted. Stokes and Fisher haven’t gotten better since graduating High School. Grant has transferred.

      Jay is a great recruiter. He stockpiles talent. How much more would the current guys developed if Jay would have landed Tyreke Evans? If Dom goes to Nova he will be watching Taylor and Rosario in the Pros while he finishes up an outstanding 4 year College career and gets a degree. Nothing wrong with that. But if the Pros are his goal. Kansas is the better choice.

    • PaHoops — You couldn’t be more wrong.

      “Foye was a lottery pick but is being exposed in the Pros because of lack of development at Nova.”

      Foye had a very good rookie season with Minnesota (3rd in ROY voting), and then got hurt and missed basically his entire 2nd year. So far in his 3rd year, he’s starting and averaging 14ppg, 6apg, and 3rpg. I would hardly call that being exposed. Randy Foye was a 4-star recruit, ranked around #50-#75 coming out of high school, and Jay Wright turned him into a lottery pick.

      “Ray is in Italy.”

      Yes, Allan Ray is doing very well in Italy, so how is that a knock against Jay Wright? He is another 4-star recruit who came to Villanova and is now playing professionally. He played one year in the NBA and is now overseas.

      “Reynolds was a potential Lottery pick coming out of HS and he will not get drafted.”

      Why was he a potential lottery pick coming out of HS? He was another 4-star recruit, he wasn’t a top 10 HS stud. He was ranked #76 by Rivals. Reynolds is an excellent college guard and has had a great 2+ seasons so far at Nova. If you’re using Reynolds as an example of why Jay Wright isn’t a good developer of talent, then that’s just hilarious. This is probably your worst comment and shows that either A) you don’t know what you’re talking about, and/or B) you are just a classic Villanova hater.

      “Stokes and Fisher haven’t gotten better since graduating High School.”

      Fisher and Stokes were both streaky last year, and Fish has had a slow start to his sophomore year, but Stokes is playing very well in his sophomore season so far. Both of these guys were huge parts of Villanova getting to the Sweet 16 last year, and both will continue to improve under Jay Wright.

      “Grant has transferred.”

      Yep, Malcolm Grant transferred because Villanova had so much talent at the guard positions that he wasn’t getting the playing time that he thought he deserved. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I’m not sure how that one is a knock against Jay Wright.

      • PaHoops is a hater…

        And you guys already owned him, but I just want to add that Allan Ray is making a million a year playing in Italy. Not bad if you ask me…

    • PaHoops

      As Stevepit pointed out you were completely wrong about everthing you said. Although Steve failed to mention how you were wrong about Lowry. You said Lowry can’t get off the bench…Last time I checked Lowry had over taken Mike Conley for the starting job on the Grizzles. Looking up what you sre talking about can be helpful big guy.
      Zags, where are you predicting Cheek will land Nova or Kansas?

    • Scottie was a McDonald’s All American and has not gotten any better since his Freshmen year. Nova runs no offense of any kind. Guys do not learn how to move without the ball. Lowry was one of my favorite guys ever out of Philly. As tough as they come. He did not develop his only weakness at Nova, his Shooting Stroke. Reynolds has not developed his PG Skills. Here is an assessment of Reynolds.

    • PaHoops:

      Lowry now starts for Memphis. The fact that Lowry was selected in the 1st round and didn’t have to toil in the NBDL was amazing. If not for injuries, who knows where he’d be.

      Same with Foye. He was bit by the injury bug in his NBA career, but he plays 35 minutes per game. He’s been getting to the line non-stop, and capable of dropping 20+ pts (5 of his last 10 games he’s topped the 20 mark). He was picked in the top 8, he was Big East POY.

      Jay Wright has developed players. If Sumpter was never injured, he could’ve been a lottery pick as well. Who knows with Jason Fraser.

      And let’s not compare Cheek to Foye, Ray, Lowry, who were all small guards. There’s a limited opportunity for these players to have NBA careers if they cannot run an offense. Cheek is 6′5″ and he may still grow another inch or two.. this plays at the NBA at the 2.

      Your comments would be like saying it is Roy Williams fault that McCants, Sean May, Brandon Wright, and soon to be Hansbrough, are not phenomenal NBA talents. Throw Billy Donovan in this mix too; point is the argument can be put on anyone.

      Getting small guards into the NBA is huge. Heck, Stephen Curry would not be drafted if it wasn’t for his father, Davidson getting into the tournament, etc. Would that be the fault of his coach or development? No. There are hurdles for college SG that aren’t big enough for that position in the NBA.

      And Reynolds has developed PG skills. This year (albeit vs lousy competition so far) he has a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, which at the college level is phenomenal. I agree with Chad Ford about his shooting suffering, but we haven’t even got into any Big East play. He’s taking less than 10 shots a game, but still getting to the line with frequency. To say that he’s regressed is poor; you improve/hurt your stock in conference play and the postseason, not in Nov/Dec.

      For someone with the name PaHoops you really dislike Jay Wright. St Joe’s fan? Otherwise I don’t understand it. Villanova is not a premiere program on the level of a UNC, KU, etc. The man is great at what he does, especially when you consider that there has no dominant presence down-low. His “lack of an offense” has brought this team to multiple Sweet 16s and an Elite 8. Without Sumpter it nearly took down eventual champion UNC. If not for the amazing Florida program over those 2 years, it could’ve been more. Besides Kentucky 2 years ago, the man gets his teams into the tournament and competes at the highest level, typically losing to the hottest and best teams. Yes, what a lack of an offensive scheme….

      And just this last point as a throw in – If you like the college experience and don’t run to the NBA, you get a pretty darn good education. Injuries can happen, and in this economy it’s good to have a fall back plan.

      End of rant.