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.
Arizona is closing in on landing a couple of talented sophomores from the New York area.
Both Sidiki Johnson, a 6-8 sophomore from St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, and Angel Nunez, a 6-8 wing who could be headed to the Winchendon (Mass.) School, hold offers from Arizona and like the Pac-10 school very much.
“As of right now he loves the school,” said Bernard Bowen, Johnson’s mentor. “He loves the coaching staff. As of right now, Arizona is the top on his list.”
Johnson averaged 11 points and 10 rebounds last season at St. Ray’s, which reached the title game of the SNY Invitational before falling to Sherrod Wright and Mount Vernon.
“Sidiki does a little bit of everything,” Bowen said. “In college he’ll probably be a three/four. He can handle the ball. He does a number of things. He can put the ball on the floor, he can face up, he can back you down, he has a post-up game and he can hit the 3.”
Bowen said Sean Miller was the first coach to see Johnson play when Miller was at Xavier.
“When Sean Miller was at Xavier, he was the only head coach who came to see him play,” Bowen said. “[Johnson] knows that. He likes Sean Miller. He is a good guy. He means well.”
It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s assistant is Book Richardson, a New York City guy who landed Kevin Parrom and is making a push for Lance Stephenson.
“Book is a New York City guy and a guy who can relate,” Bowen said.
Johnson is on record saying he’s open at the moment, but Arizona is clearly in the lead.
“He likes Arizona,” Bowen said. “He’s not going to commit right now.”
Johnson and Nunez are friends and the two could wind up playing together.
The 6-7, 180-pound Nunez is a wing who has interest from a slew of schools, including Arizona, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Wake Forest, Miami, UMass and Louisville.
Eric Martinez, Nunez’s mentor, says Arizona, Kentucky and Louisville are the leaders at this point.
“He likes a Arizona but right now the process is still early as far as committing to a school,” Martinez said. “He likes the school very much. The Hispanic community is good.”
Both Nunez and Martinez are Dominican and so is Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua.
“We’re all Dominican, Orlando, me and Angel,” Martinez said.
As for Louisville, Martinez also mentored former Louisville player Francisco Garcia, another Dominican.
“I was his mentor when he was growing up in the city,” Martinez said.
Both Johnson and Nunez could grow to be 6-9 or 6-10 by their senior years, making them even more attractive.
While Johnson has two years left at St. Ray’s, Nunez could wind up transferring to Winchendon and playing for coach Mike Byrnes.
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.