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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 / June 23.

    After Dennis Smith Jr. dropped a career-high 32 points on Monday to propel North Carolina State to an upset victory at No. 17 Duke, the freshman is up to 19.5 points, 6.5 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.

    Using the Player Season Finder tool on Play Index, only one other first-year in (at least) the last 24 seasons has posted a 19/6/4 stat line—fellow rookie Markelle Fultz of Washington.

    Now comes the scary part: Smith, who missed his senior year of high school after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the summer of 2015, may not even be back to full strength.

    During ESPN’s “94 Feet with Jay Bilas” segment that aired during Monday’s telecast, Bilas asked Smith about the injury.

    “And you feel 100 percent now?” Bilas asked.

    Following his brilliant performance at the Hoophall Classic, Washington-bound forward Michael Porter Jr. has replaced Arizona signee DeAndre Ayton atop the 2017 ESPN 100.

    The 7-foot Ayton is now ranked No. 2, with Duke-bound forward Wendell Carter at No. 3, uncommitted point guard Trevon Duval at No. 4 and uncommitted big man Mohamed Bamba at No. 5.

    The 6-foot-10, 220-pound Porter Jr. has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant and Paul George, and his virtuoso 36-point, 5-rebound, 4-assist performance for unbeaten Nathan Hale (14-0) against famed Oak Hill Academy at the Hoophall Classic did nothing to dissuade those perceptions.

    Porter Jr. is currently projected as the No. 5 pick in 2018 by, but he figures to be in the mix for the possible No. 1 spot along Ayton.

    NEWARK — Myles Powell is friends with Trevon Duval and would love for Duval to join him at Seton Hall next season.

    “We talk a lot,” Powell told me Sunday after dropping 19 points in Seton Hall’s 86-73 beatdown of St. John’s. “I bring it up sometimes, ask him if he wanna come be my point guard. I’m going to just worry about what I’m doing over here, let him finish off his high school career on a good note. He just got nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Game. I congratulated him.

    “I guess after all his accolades and the high school season’s done, then we can move forward into that.”

    Asked how much the 6-foot-3 Duval could help Seton Hall, Powell said, “Amazing. I know how Coach [Kevin Willard] lets his guards go. I feel like he would fit in perfect here, I tell him that all the time and hopefully the job gets done.”


    Villanova and Kansas remain the top two teams in The Associated Press college basketball poll while Gonzaga moved up to third.

    The Wildcats (19-1) beat Seton Hall and Providence last week and received 35 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel on Monday. This is the seventh week on top this season for Villanova.

    Kansas (18-1) was No. 1 on 28 ballots. Last week, the Jayhawks had 32 first-place votes, compared with 28 for Villanova.