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.
Williams Visits Memphis; O'Neill Zings 'Zona; Edwin Taking Trips (UPDATED)
Here are a few quick morning hits from the Hoops World…
**Derrick Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from La Mirada, Calif., is visiting Memphis and will choose from among Arizona, Arizona State, Gonzaga, Memphis and Miami sometime after his visit ends Wednesday.
“It’s going good right now,” Williams told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. “It’s a big difference from LA, but I could get used to it. I didn’t think the players were going to be how they are. They’re all pretty cool. They (play) up-tempo and they’re enthusiastic, so I like that too.”
Williams is one of eight recruits to opt out at USC. Tim Floyd resigned there in the wake of the O.J. Mayo recruiting scandal.
If Williams chooses Memphis, he would join JUCO standout Will Coleman, who could start at center, power forward Latavious Williams and combo forward Martin Ngaloro of France.
The Tigers are also in the hunt for Brooklyn’s Lance Stephenson. The poll on ZAGSBLOG.com indicates some 39 percent of respondents think Lance will end up at Memphis, with 29 percent saying Europe and 15 percent Arizona.
If the Tigers land Williams, will they still be interested in Stephenson, whose court case for groping resumes June 29?
Word is that Memphis would like to use Stephenson, a natural shooting guard, at the point for a year before he heads off to the NBA (presumably). Then in 2010 Memphis will have Will Barton and hopefully Joe Jackson in the backcourt.
Problem is that Memphis coach Josh Pastner hasn’t heard from Lance or his dad in a while.
**Another departed USC player, Lamont “Momo” Jones, has visited Florida and Arizona and is said to be deciding between those two programs. A source said Oklahoma was not in the mix, despite rumors to the contrary.
**Speaking of USC, new coach Kevin O’Neill took the opportunity of Monday’s introductory press conference to take a few shots at former players (Jerryd Bayless and others have criticized him for his excessive discipline and overall behavior) and former Arizona coach Lute Olson.“Contrary to popular demand, I’m not Darth Vader,” he said. “You would think I was slaying people every time you turn around. … Over the years, I’ve been in situations where not all the players always like the coach. Well, guess what? The coaches don’t like all the players sometimes either, especially when you’re in rebuilding situations.”
O’Neill was named interim coach for the 2007-08 season when Olson stepped down temporarily with health issues, but then was booted was Olson was supposed to come back. Olson never did and Russ Pennell served as the interim coach last season.
“Lute deserved the opportunity to come back and be the coach; he had earned that over a Hall of Fame career,” O’Neill said. “A lot of people said a lot of things after I left; I didn’t say anything. I don’t have any ill will or any bad feelings whatsoever, plus I ended up in a better job.”
So take that, Lute.
**Paterson Catholic forward Fuquan Edwin is due to visit Providence today and Seton Hall Thursday and then decide between the two Big East schools.
**Richard Peters, a 6-9, 260-pound forward from Weston (Fla.) Sagemont High School in the Class of 2011, has committed to Oklahoma, according to multiple reports.
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.