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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 / September 22.
  • Harvard looking to beat out Kentucky, Duke for Class of 2019 New Jersey Stars

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    NEPTUNE, N.J. — Scottie Lewis hears regularly from the staffs at Kentucky, Duke and Florida, but after spending a recent weekend with Harvard coach Tommy Amaker, he’s now thinking outside the box about his recruitment.

    The 6-foot-5 Lewis, a small forward ranked No. 8 in the 2019 ESPN 60, said he and his Ranney teammates Bryan Antoine (No. 12 in 2019), Alex Klatsky and Chris Autino are talking about potentially joining forces at Harvard to start something new at the Ivy League school.

    “Yeah, just trying to basically do what we did at Ranney and bringing it all the way to Harvard,” Lewis told me Sunday at the Super Skillcase run by Train Impossible. “The great part about that is no one can say it was the wrong choice to go to Harvard. There’s so much within that campus and so much knowledge within those professors that there’s not a bad situation to go to Harvard. Just to create a story and feed on the legacy of the four freshmen going to Ranney and doing the same thing at a school like Harvard, it would just be a great story.”

    Lewis recently listed his top 12 schools, which included Harvard along with the likes of Kentucky, Duke, Florida and Kansas.

    Asked how seriously they are talking about it, Lewis added: “It’s definitely been roaming around in our heads since me and Alex got back from Boston [the weekend of Oct. 27], so we’ve been talking to Bryan and Chris about it and they’re really excited about the idea. But there’s a lot more time and a lot more things that we need to focus on, so it’s definitely in the back of our minds 24/7 and we just kind of give each other that look and make jokes about Harvard. All good jokes about Harvard, about us going there and things like that.”

    Amaker has come close in the past with several five-star players, most notably Class of 2017 guys Mohamed Bamba, who ultimately landed at Texas, and Wendell Carter Jr., who chose Duke. Both Bamba and Carter Jr. are projected lottery picks in 2018.

    The 6-4 Antoine, an explosive two guard who many think is a future pro, said he is “planning on making a visit [to Harvard] sometime soon.”

    Asked what their pitch was, Antoine said: “They said just like what we did at Ranney. All four of us came to a small school and brought up the basketball and all that. And pretty much the same thing at Harvard. And plus you get the best of both worlds. You have academics and you also have the basketball.”

    He added: “I’m still considering them because my parents emphasize academics and to at least attend Harvard University and to say that you graduated from Harvard is a big thing.”

    Antoine has no other visits for now, but says he hears regularly from Rutgers, Kentucky, Duke, Villanova, Kansas, Maryland “and a couple other schools.”

    “I don’t have a timetable but I will come out with a list very soon,” he said.

    The 6-3 Klatsky visited Harvard along with Lewis and is receptive to Amaker’s pitch to bring in all four Ranney players in 2019.

    “It was a great visit, they really showed us the campus, everything they had to offer,” said Klatsky, who also hears from Lafayette and Seton Hall, among others. “For Scottie and I, it was our first time up there in Boston.

    “They’re trying to say we can make something happen there. Just change everything and make something happen.”

    Harvard went 18-10 a year ago, losing to Yale in the semifinals of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament, a game in which former Patrick School point guard Bryce Aiken went off for 28 points.

    Aiken, who is very close with Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, would be a senior when Lewis, Antoine, Klatsky and Autino are college freshmen.

    “They have a very strong sophomore class,” Klatsky said. “I think they have such a great group right now and two years later add a couple key elements, they could make some big runs in the [NCAA] Tournament.”

    Asked how seriously he thinks Lewis and Antoine are considering Harvard, Klatsky said, “I think they really are because it would change college basketball for the good. I think that maybe five-star kids didn’t really look towards the Ivy League as much, and that could maybe open doors for other kids that would want to pursue pretty good educations.”

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    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.