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.
In the words of my man Neil Young, “Tonight’s the Night.”
Tonight’s the Night the top two uncommitted players in the Class of 2012 — Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad — will reveal their college choices live on ESPNU (7:30 p.m. EST).
As of Tuesday night — when Muhammad Tweeted this picture — he was still making up his mind about his college destination.
“Duke, UCLA, UK, nothing has changed,” his father, Ron Holmes, texted SNY.tv Tuesday night. “All three right there.”
The 6-foot-6 Muhammad is coming off a record 35-point outing in a losing effort in Saturday night’s Nike Hoop Summit. He then met with Kentucky coach John Calipari and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski over the weekend.
UCLA and coach Ben Howland, which has long been in a strong position with Muhammad despite the recent SI article, did not meet with Muhammad this weekend.
The 6-10 Noel will choose from among Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse.
Noel Tweeted Tuesday night: “Toughest decision of my life. #StressThinking”
I have long thought that Shabazz will pick UCLA and Noel Kentucky, but we’ll find out for sure tonight.
If Kentucky lands both players, they will go a long way toward repeating their tremendous recruiting class of a year ago which included Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer.
Noel is considered by some to be a better shot-blocker than Davis, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, though not as polished offensively.
Muhammad is a better scorer and more complete offensive player than Kidd-Gilchrist, who could go as high as No. 2 in the Draft.
If Kentucky lands only one of the two, well then they’ve still done well for themselves but there may be some disappointment in Bluegrass country since they are so accustomed to landing so many of the top players.
If, in a worst-case scenario for Kentucky fans, they don’t land either player, they might want, as Louisville coach Rick Pitino suggested on the eve of the Final Four, to put fences up on the bridges around the state.
Still, the smart money says Kentucky gets at least one of these guys.
The Wildcats are also in the mix for UConn transfer Alex Oriakhi, JUCO power forward Andrew Young and 2012 players Amile Jefferson and Anthony Bennett, who plan to announce later this month or in early May.
Jason Polykoff, Jefferson’s high school coach, told SNY.tv Wednesday that the 6-7 Jefferson had yet to set a date for his announcement, and the 6-8 Bennett previously told SNY.tv he planned to announce sometime in May after taking his five visits.
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.