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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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Friday / January 19.
  • Sources: John Wall Down to Two Schools; Fordham Releases a 3rd Player; Recruiting Notes

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    John Wall is down to two schools — Kentucky and Miami — according to multiple sources close to the situation.

    “It’s down to the two of them, no question about it,” one source said. “It is Kentucky and Miami. The kid is leaning toward Kentucky. There is a little bit of a concern with the people closest to him that if he goes to Kentucky that they’re going to lose control.”

    Said a second source at one of the schools: “That’s what we’re hearing.”

    Brian Clifton, Wall’s adviser, told Luke Winn of that it was “accurate” to say that the race was between Duke, Kentucky and Miami, but my sources indicate it’s a two-horse race between Miami and Kentucky.

    The 6-foot-4 Wall has not publicly cut his list. Asked by text on Sunday when he might cut it, he said, “I don’t know.”

    Wall is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009 and has long considered Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami and N.C. State.

    Kentucky coach John Calipari pursued both Wall and Alabama point guard Eric Bledsoe, with the idea that Wall would start at the point and Bledsoe would play 10-15 minutes as a backup. If Wall followed former Calipari guards Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans by jumping to the NBA after one season, Bledsoe would take over in 2010.

    Calipari has already secured an impressive recruiting class that includes Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Darnell Dodson and Jon Hood. The addition of Wall could make the Cats a Final Four-caliber team, although the team would still need to jell together.

    Clearly, Clifton has some reservations about Wall joining Bledsoe at Kentucky.

    “The knee-jerk reaction, and justifiably so, would be to take a minute of pause to look further into it. Because I can’t imagine, to get a player like Eric Bledsoe, that [Kentucky] would tell him, we’re going to recruit over you immediately and not play you very much as a freshman,” Clifton told

    “There had to be some assurances made to him about being able to share the ball, that would inspire him to commit despite the possibility of John still coming there. … So we have to revisit that situation and make sure it’s going to be great to have two of the top four point guards on the roster at once.”

    Clifton told he hopes to talk to Calipari and Bledsoe’s camp to see what their expectations are for next season at Kentucky.

    “It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but I’d be remiss in my duty as a guy that’s helping John and his family if we don’t explore it fully,” Clifton said.

    Clifton is also clearly amenable to the idea of Wall going to play at Miami. Head coach Frank Haith has recruited New York combo guard Durand Scott, whose Rice team beat Lance Stephenson and Lincoln in the New York State Federation title game.

    “And being in Miami is significant in and of itself,” Clifton told “If you’re going to be away from home for a year, or two years, or four, there are much worse places to be.”

    Still, Wall has also said he may want to stay home in North Carolina to be near his ailing mother.


    **A third Fordham player, freshman forward Lamar Thomas of Littleton, Col., obtained his release yesterday, bringing to three the number of Rams who are leaving the program this year. Trey Blue is headed to Illinois State and Mike Moore to Hofstra. Yet somehow the program won’t let freshman point guard Jio Fontan out? How does that make any kind of sense?

    **Fabricio De Melo, a 7-foot, 267-pound native of Brazil who is currently in his junior year at Sagemont High School in Weston, Fla., visited Syracuse over the weekend but didn’t commit, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.

    Known as Fab Melo, the 7-footer has also visited Louisville and Connecticut and will visit Florida Sunday.

    **Khalif Toombs, a 5-8, 150-pound jet-quick point guard out of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. who can step out and shoot with range, will visit La Salle this weekend.

    “He is our best pure point guard since Taurean Green,” IMG coach Dan Barto said. “He matched up and held his own against the Florida JUCOs and had a great showing against Johnny Lacy and KC Ross-Miller as well.”

    Toombs, originally from Atlantic City, averaged 16 points, 6 assists and 2 steals per game this year.

    **Jeremee Davis, a 6-2, 185-pound lead guard also from IMG, has interest from William & Mary, St. Francis (Pa.), Norfolk State and North Dakota State, Barto said.

    **Various college players are training at IMG for the upcoming NBA Draft, including Pitt’s DeJuan Blair and Louisville’s Earl Clark.

    “We will be adding Tashid Carr, Marcus Thornton and possibly Ricky Rubio to our pre-draft routine,” Barto said.

    **No update on Quintrell Thomas. The Kansas forward is expected to announce for Siena, St. Joe’s or UNLV any day now.

    **2010 guard Steve Rennard of St. Joe’s Metuchen (N.J.) committed to Penn.

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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.


      “The latest report on John Wall being down to two is inaccurate, according to his AAU coach Brian Clifton.
      17 minutes ago from web “

    • I thought his name was Dwan(Duan) Clifton or does he have a brother named Brian?

      • Dwon Clifton is at Baylor.

    • I stand by my sources. Thanks.

      • How can you dispute what his AAU coach has said AND after Wall has said himself that he hasn’t narrowed his list down yet?

        • In his post, Zag draws a very clear line between Wall privately narrowing his list and publically doing so, and just because he does so privately DOES NOT mean he will do the same publically. Zagoria is merely saying his sources are telling him a decision will be made between UK and Miami and he stands by that. I would not expect Brian Clifton to do anything but deny that the list has been cut unless Wall formally announced he had cut it, so his denial does not mean much to me.

      • It seemingly is an addendum to what Orlando “Loose Lips” Antigua told Adam Zagoria. Mr. Clifton said the accurate list consisted of the two Antigua passed along as well as Duke.

    • Clifton wants Wall to go to duke so he can get paid under the table by them

      truth – it’s that simple

      Wall wants to go to UK

      truth – it’s that simple

      This Clifton fella could care LESS about Wall he just wants to cash in……….

      • Wow, a fan of Calipari clamoring about DUKE paying players? The sane world realizes that it’s far more likely Wall is getting paid at Kentucky than getting paid anywhere else. That said, it seems very likely he chooses Kentucky, if only because he’s unlikely to gain academic admission to either Miami or Duke.

    • AZ,

      A few weeks ago, you covered the MoMo signing.

      There were TWO big red Flags glaring about U$C.

      Johnson, a one-time Mayo confidant, has told both NCAA investigators and federal authorities – including the FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s Office – that Floyd gave at least $1,000 in cash to Rodney Guillory, a man who allegedly lavished Mayo with improper benefits while the guard starred for the Trojans.

      Such an act would constitute a major NCAA violation for USC, which is the subject of an ongoing three-year investigation into alleged improprieties in both the football and men’s basketball programs

    • AZ,

      What is up with the MoMo situation?
      He should of been told of what was claimed.
      Full Disclosure so, he and his mother make an informed and educated decisoin.
      Instead, of being ….

      What will the LA timess report tomorrow?

      “Tim Floyd did not provide CASH.”

      With CASH payments, there is no evidence of exchange or transfer.

      But, if you look at the bank deposits, YOU will see the $1000.00……

      Lets see how much digging LA timess does?

      >> Is there any mention of more than ONE payment?


      If the School knew about the cash payment comment, WHY didn’t it inform the RECRUITS?
      All the recruits.

      The cash payment allegation was known some weeks ago….FULL DISCLOSURE should of been followed…..

      There are many thread so, goto “What now? USC calling on ….”

    • If this kid knows how good he is, he will go to Miami.

      Perfect opportunity to give the program the most national attention and put basketball on the same plane that football was on during the Kellen Winslow, Greg Olsen, era.

      His youtube clips are bananas, though I’m yet to see this cat hoop.

      He is a freakish, dominant force. With Mclinton gone, he can shore up that scoring gap and get Dwayne Collins–who shot the ball at a sizzling 65 percent clip–his looks as well

      • The only attention Miami football received when Greg Olsen was there was from the FIU brawl and “The 7th Floor Crew” so I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m pretty sure you meant to say Jeremy Shockey, that would actually make sense.

    • First of all Wall doesn’t want to go to Ky. He wants to play for Cal where ever he is. Did any of these players like Cousins or Henry or Wall or Dodson want to go to ky before Cal got there? The answer is no and they would have all been at Memphis.

      Second I think you are right about loose lips Antigua. In fact I think Cal promotes that because his name and team will be out in the public more than any other school. It was done at Memphis. I cannot recall how much free flowing information was out there for any other school in recent memory. Can someone enlighten me?

      • It certainly seems Calipari runs all parts of his business equally lax. He allows players to do what they want without consequence, how could he hold his assistant coaches to higher standards? Kentucky will be on probation within 3 years.

    • I dont see why Bledsoe committed before Wall did. Bledsoe could have walked into Memphis and been the starter from day one. Now with it seeming likely Wall is going to go to UK, Bledsoe will see a lot less playing time. Just doesnt make much sense to me.

      The only good thing about Wall going to play for Calapari, cause he isnt going cause he likes UK, is that Kentucky will have all this talent and their unrealistic fan base will be going crazy and it will be fun to see them lose in the 2nd rd of the tournament.

      But, I am guessing UK fans will just be happy to get back to the big dance.

      USC.trojan. Please dont ever use a computer again.

    • Maybe Wall will surprise everyone and pick Duke so he can have have a non-descript pro career. That is, unless he leagally changes his last name to Hill. Then the poor guy will be plagued by the injury bug…I wish Grant was healthy his entire career…

    • If Wall goes to Miami, he’ll be all set going pro after freshman year, because an added bonus of not even needing to set foot in the classroom after March 5, 2010, when UM gets bounced from the ACC Tourney…players never showed up in the 70s and 80s under Schnellenburger onward…ask anybody who went to UM during that timeframe – fact. I know more than a couple of students …