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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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Saturday / May 26.
  • Madness Roundup; Powell to Stanford

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    I was at the Pittsburgh-Rutgers football game last night, but Midnight Madness festivities tipped off around the nation. Here’s a brief rundown on a few high profile events.

    UCONN

    Some 9,000 fans turned out at Gampel Pavillion to support the Huskies on First Night.

    6-8 Oak Hill (Va.) forward Roscoe Smith is considering Duke, UConn and Georgetown. He has already visited Georgetown and was at UConn on Friday.

    “I’m a versatile-type player. I can do it all,” Smith told David Borges of The New Haven Register. “Anything the coach needs of me, I can do.”

    Smith said he liked UConn and its history of producing talented big men.

    “The main thing about UConn is coach Jim Calhoun. And also, the legacy of the players that played here, like Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, etc.”

    Also slated to be at UConn were Findlay (Nev.) Prep Cory Joseph (2010), Winchendon wing Angel Martinez of New York and Maurice Harkless of Queens, both Class of 2011.

    Borges also reported that UConn shooting guard Jerome Dyson, who missed the last 12 games of last season after undergoing knee surgery, has been sitting out of practices and drills, but did compete in Friday night’s dunk contest.

    “He wouldn’t miss the chance to show off,” said Calhoun. “Jerome has instant recuperative powers when there are 2,000-3,000 co-eds looking at him.”

    KANSAS

    The No. 1 team in the preseason polls returns all five starters, including, Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich, as well as a banner recruiting class that includes Xavier and C.J. Henry.

    During the freshmen skits for “Late Night in the Phog,” The Kansas City Star reported that Xavier had to wear an afro and super tight Kansas game shorts from the 1980s while dancing to rapper Lil’ Flip’s “The way we ball.”

    “They made us do some goofy stuff tonight,” Xavier told the paper. “We stressed over it the whole week. We practiced earlier [Friday], made sure we got it down. It was good. I enjoyed it while we were out there.”

    Markieff Morris was 6-of-7 from the field for 15 points and Travis Releford was 6-of-6 for 15  in the scrimmage at Allen Fieldhouse, according to the Topeka Capital Journal. Xavier scored eight points.

    New Jersey guard Tyshawn Taylor, who suffered a dislocated right thumb that required surgery in the recent fight with members of the football team, played nine minutes. He did not score but dished five assists.

    “I feel good,” Taylor told Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com. “My shot is like I never left. I don’t even think about it when I play.”

    Several elite recruits were on hand, but neither Harrison Barnes of Ames, Iowa, nor Doron Lamb of Oak Hill (Va.) played, Goodman reported. Barnes, who still has to visit Duke and UCLA, was resting his body. Josh Selby took an unofficial and did run with the team.

    KENTUCKY

    John Calipari officially launched the 2009-10 campaign by addressing some 24,000 fans in the Bluegrass State.

    Many expect the Wildcats to challenge for a Final Four run after the additions of freshmen John Wall, Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins and Daniel Orton to a team that already included Patrick Patterson, Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins.

    “I look at this team behind me and the passion in front of me and I see the foundation for my vision for our program,” Calipari said, according to reports. “It’s a vision where we are the gold standard not just for college basketball but for all college athletics.”

    Kentucky hosted a slew of elite recruits, including the New York/New Jersey quartet of Tobias Harris, Kyrie Irving, Michael Gilchrist and Achraf Yacoubou.

    Irving and Harris both Tweeted that they were “chillin” with each other.

    UPCOMING MADNESS EVENTS:

    Oct 22 – St. John’s

    Oct. 23 – Villanova

    Oct. 30 – Seton Hall 

    POWELL TO STANFORD

    Dwight Powell, a 6-9, 215-pound forward from Bradenton IMG Academy, verbally committed to Stanford over Harvard and Georgia Tech.

    “It was a tough decision but the combination of world class academics and world class athletics confirmed in my mind Stanford was the place for me,” Powell wrote in a text message. “Coach [Johnny] Dawkins has a great vision for me and for the program, which is exciting.”

    A five-star prospect, Powell is ranked No. 23 overall and No. 7 among forwards.

    (Photos courtesy Rivals, Kansas City Star, US Presswire)

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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.