One of the advantages of playing high-profile early-season tournaments in New York City is recruiting.
Coaches can spend time around the tournament watching local players, and can also promise prospects who commit that they will return home to play in front of family and friends in future years.
Exhibit A of that is expected to happen this week when Roselle (N.J.) Catholic guard Isaiah Briscoe and Iona (N.Y.) Prep wing Matt Ryan — both members of the Class of 2015 — watch Arizona and Duke compete in the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.
No. 6 Duke faces Alabama in one semifinal Wednesday, while No. 4 Arizona meets Drexel in the other. The championship and consolation games are Friday.
The 6-foot-3 Briscoe has long had Arizona near the top of his list of suitors, which also includes Syracuse, Florida, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. John’s. N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried — whose team is not playing in New York this week — was also at RC on Sunday to see Briscoe and teammates Chris Silva and Asante Gist.
Briscoe expects to watch Friday’s games at the Garden, which could feature a championship final between superfrosh Jabari Parker of Duke and Aaron Gordon of Arizona.
The 6-6 Ryan, meantime, is being recruited by Duke, with Coach K recently calling him, and said he spoke with associate head coach Steve “Wojo” Wojciechowski about attending the game on the night before Thanksgiving.
“They couldn’t pay for the tickets since it’s not a home game,” Ryan told SNY.tv. “I’m really excited to see them. Wojo told me Alabama will be a tough test and he is very happy I’m going and hopefully they play well in front of me.”
Ironically, Duke may also watch Briscoe and his Roselle Catholic teammates in a workout Tuesday afternoon, RC coach Dave Boff told SNY.tv. They are also interested in Silva, a 2015 forward
Other coaches in town this week are also out recruiting.
Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins, whose team played Houston Monday in the Legends Classic at the Barclays Center, watched Ryan work out last week.
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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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.