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.
By ALEX KLINE
For years, Kaison Randolph has been watching high school basketball games, waiting for his chance to play on the big stage.
This year, he started right off the bat as a 14-year-old freshman at The Pennington School, a small private school in New Jersey. After 20 games, the 6-foot-2, 165-pound combo guard has already established a name for himself and Saturday afternoon proved to be the biggest moment yet.
While watching a game, Kaison got a phone call from his AAU coach Matt Pauls of Team NJABC. Cincinnati had offered the freshman a scholarship.
“Kaison has great upside, but also has a lot of work to do,” said Pauls. “Clearly, the high-major D1 programs see his potential given his athleticism and skill for a freshman. I continue to emphasize to him that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and to end up in a high major D1 program he has to worry very hard on the court and in the classroom.
“The good news is that he knows that, is humble, and is committed to work hard. He is doing well academically at a top private school, and his character is impeccable.”
Schools from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten and A10 have inquired Randolph, who is averaging 11.9 points and 8.3 boards.
**Arizona assistant Book Richardson went back to his roots of recruiting players out of New York Friday night. Richardson, who already helped the Wildcats land Bronx native Sidiki Johnson for 2011, checked out practice at St. Raymond’s, followed by a game at Christ the King. Juniors Nkereuwem Okoro and Daniel Dingle of St. Ray’s came out of practice with an offer from Arizona. The teammates, who also play AAU together, went to the St. John’s game against UConn on Thursday. Coach Richardson continued his tour of New York when he went to see junior Omar Calhoun and sophomore Isaiah Lewis of Christ the King play. Both players have offers from the Arizona staff.
**Angelo Chol, a 6-8 senior forward out of Herbert Hoover High in California, is on his fifth and final official visit this weekend in Washington. The senior has already visited Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina and Alabama. Chol will announce his college decision on Feb. 17th.
**Perry Ellis went back to Lawrence, Kansas for another game. Ellis’ AAU coach, Steve Young, decided to take him at the last minute to the Kansas-Iowa State game Saturday. The junior power forward out of Wichita Heights has led his team to a 16-0 record this year.
“It was kind of a surprise visit,” said Fonda Ellis, Perry’s mother. “We are scheduled to go to the Oklahoma-Kansas STate game on the 19th. Then to OU when they play KU on the 26th.”
**Yet again, Pittsburgh was watching Amile Jefferson on Friday night. The 6-6 junior from Friends Central in Pennsylvania is being recruited hard by the Panthers staff. Assistant Pat Skerry watched Amile while he also looked at a 2011 Pitt commit in Malcolm Gilbert of Academy of the New Church. Skerry watched Jefferson play last weekend, as well.
**Speaking of Friends Central, Amile’s teammate, Devin Coleman, picked up an offer from Clemson on Thursday night. Coleman is being targeted by a number of mid major schools in the area, as well as Oregon State and others.
**Monmouth recently offered 6-7 junior forward Jameel Warney of Roselle Catholic in New Jersey. Warney is hearing from a number of schools. He took an unofficial visit to the school in December.
**Two seniors from the Northfield Mount Hermon team in Massachusetts have made their commitments, according to head coach John Carroll. Jvonte Brooks and Vince Van Nes both made their pledges. The forward, Brooks, committed to Dartmouth, while Van Nes, a big man, committed to Fairfield.
**North Carolina is now expressing interest in Lincoln freshman Isaiah Whitehead of Brooklyn. When Whitehead and the Railsplitters were in Wisconsin for a tournament, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams watched another player who they were recruiting, J.P. Tokoto, and noticed Isaiah. The freshman is also hearing from Xavier, Pittsburgh, St. John’s and USC.
**Stefan Jankovic, a 6-10 Serbian junior from Huntington Prep in West Virginia, took an unofficial visit to Wake Forest this weekend and said he loved it.
**As if the Villanova-Pittsburgh game didn’t need any more hype on Saturday night, four top recruits added some extra fun to the mix. Junior Amile Jefferson from Friends Central in Pennsylvania, as well as junior Daniel Ochefu of Westtown, sophomore Terrence Samuel of South Shore in New York, as well as New Yorker Isaiah Lewis out of Christ the King were at the game last night.
**Three juniors from the South made their verbal commitments on Saturday. Shaq Johnson of Milton in Georgia verbally committed to Auburn, Jaron Blossomgame of Chattahoochee in Georgia committed to Clemson and Josip Mikulic of North Broward Prep in Florida committed to N.C. State. Rivals.com first reported the Clemson and N.C. State commits.
**Seton Hall assistant Shaheen Holloway watched sophomore Tyler Roberson out of Union in New Jersey play on Saturday night.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, 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.