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.
James Young Could Coexist With Wiggins, Harrison Twins at Kentucky
James Young would have no problem co-existing with Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and the Harrison Twins should all — or some — of them end up at Kentucky.
That’s what his Godfather, Sean Mahone, told SNY.tv, during an extensive phone interview Friday afternoon.
“Yeah, yeah absolutely,” Mahone said.
“You play with Wiggins, you play with the Harrison twins, you play with Julius Randle, I would envision an up-and-down game and an opportunity for people who pose a threat from the outside to be able to given that opportunity. Simultaneously, if you have an opportunity to get to the bucket and create some things, I think it just presents a very interesting scenario, I really do.”
The Harrison Twins just cut their list to three schools and are likely to choose between Kentucky and Maryland. They are due to announce Oct. 29.
Wiggins, whom Calipari will watch Monday at Huntington Prep, has Kentucky and Florida State pursuing him the hardest.
Mahone said it certainly sounds like Kentucky is preparing for Wiggins to be in the Class of 2013 instead of 2014.
“They talked about all of those players are players that they’re interested in for 2013,” Mahone said. “But he could not give any definitive in terms of whether or not Wiggins would be reclassifying. I think his comment is, ‘Who isn’t recruiting Wiggins, right?'”
Aaron Harrison, Wiggins and Young are all perimeter players, while Randle, who visits Kentucky this weekend, is a power forward.
Still, the more, the merrier, as far as Young and his family are concerned.
“[James] has a lot of respect for those guys and I think he would say that it’s very intriguing to know that maybe he could be playing with players that could represent an opportunity to win a national championship,” Mahone said.
“And if there’s anybody who has aspirations of playing in the NBA, I think they all would tell you at the end of the day that wherever they go, they’re going to be playing.”
Mahone said he thinks Calipari’s offense allows for multiple perimeter players to excel at the same time.
“When you look at [Calipari’s] offense, I see a lot of perimeter play where you look at three, four guards at different times, people being able to play the same position,” Mahone said. “I saw last year a lot of people around the perimeter and different levels of people being able to have an opportunity to do different things at different times. I see an opportunity to be an up and down team. I see an opportunity for those guys who have good perimeter skills.”
He added: “You’re probably not going to have one guy in that system scoring 20-something every night every game. I think it’s a more balanced more approach, and that’s fine because if that’s where we end up, James wants to win a championship.”
Young is also considering Syracuse, Michigan State, Kansas and Arizona — and Mahone said the goal was to finish all the home visits within the “next week and a half.”
Mahone said Young could fit into any one of their offenses.
“That’s why I love the schools that we’ve been looking at,” he said. “Syracuse [plays an] up and down offense. They allow you to shoot he outside shot when it’s there. They allow you to go to the bucket. Same thing at Kentucky.”
As for Michigan State, Young could fit in there, too.
“There’s a heck of an opportunity for somebody like ‘J’ in that system because I think in that scenario James would be featured,” Mahone said. “He would be called upon to be an integral part of the scoring and the overall strategy. So at Michigan STate, I think James would really have an opportunity to showcase his complete game.”
The same goes for Kansas and Arizona.
“You can go to any one of those schools and I would be comfortable saying the same thing,” he said.
After the home visits next week — Michigan State (Sunday), Syracuse (Monday), Kansas (Wednesday) and Arizona (TBD) — Young will then settle on what officials he will take.
Mahone said Young could well visit Kentucky Oct. 12 for Big Blue Madness, but that could be an official or an unofficial.
“I can’t say whether or not it’s an official visit, but I do know that we’re looking at that in terms of going to visit and witness that,” Mahone said.
He added: “After next week, I think we’ll have a better feel in terms of visits.”
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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.