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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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Monday / July 16.
  • By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Mark “Rocket” Watts , the 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard from The Family Detroit and Detroit (MI) Old Redford, has cut his list to eight schools.

    Watts is down to  UConn, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville, Missouri, Oregon and Xavier, according to Rivals.com.

    Coaches from most of those schools watched him this week at the Peach Invitational in Augusta, Ga., and Louisville’s Chris Mack and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo were among those who saw him drop 43 points on Saturday.

    By DANIEL YNFANTE

    NEW YORK — In front of Mike Krzyzewski, Bill Self, Richard Pitino and a handful of college coaches, Isaiah Todd had an opportunity to showcase his skills on Saturday at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale.

    But in front of Todd stood a giant roadblock. Todd’s AAU squad, Team Loaded North Carolina took on D1 Minnesota and 6-foot-9 forward Matthew Hurt, the No. 6 ranked player in the class of 2019.

    Todd, a 6-foot-11 forward went up head to head with Hurt and lost the battle, scoring 7 points on 2-of-14 from the field and grabbing just 4 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Hurt scored 29, and his team improved to 3-0 in the tournament with a 77-59 victory.

    “Matthew is a good player,” Todd said. “He’s the top in his class. It was fun to watch and it was fun to play.”

    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Worldwide Wes were among the celebrities who made appearances at the Nike Peach Jam this week, but Condoleeeza Rice was nowhere to be found.

    Unless she magically shows up for Sunday’s final between Team Takeover and Team WhyNot (ESPNU, 2 p.m.).

    Rice, of course, chaired the Rice Commission which in April released a 60-page report that proposed the NCAA run its own summer recruiting events for recruits and take a more stringent approach to certifying what it called non-scholastic basketball events.

    The recommendations have led to rampant concern and speculation over what the future of summer basketball might look like — including the possibility that next year’s Peach Jam won’t feature college coaches or could be held in August, or both.

    Considering that the Peach Jam is the crown jewel of the summer grassroots recruiting calendar, one might have imagined that Rice — and perhaps some of her fellow Commission members — would have attended the event, taking some notes, observing and speaking to some of the many of the coaches, players and others in attendance.

    By DANIEL YNFANTE

    NEW YORK —  On Saturday, the seconds ticked with the score tied at 61 at Basketball City in Manhattan. Pump N Run’s Julien Franklin drove to the basket and dished out a pass to Ethan Anderson, who was open on the right corner and connected on a buzzer beating triple to seal a 64-61 victory over Team EBO in the Adidas Gauntlet Finale.

    But the shot wasn’t what people were talking about after the game. Instead, it was the performance of a 6-foot-5, 170-pound 16-year-old. In front of coaches from UCLA, USC, Kansas, Cincinnati, San Diego State and Washington, Team EBO’s Jalen Green stole the show in defeat. Kentucky’s John Calipari also watched Green on Friday.

    The junior is the No.1 ranked player in the Class of 2020 according to 247Sports.com. On Saturday, Green scored 26 points, to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

    Green has received offers from over a dozen schools, including Arizona, Kansas, UCLA, USC, Villanova, Washington and Oregon. However, when asked to comment about his recruitment, Green declined.

    By DANIEL YNFANTE

    NEW YORK —  Stay at home, or play for a historic program?

    Matthew Hurt’s college decision looms.

    On Saturday, some of college basketball’s marquee coaches sat courtside to watch Hurt score 29 points, grab 6 rebounds and record 6 assists as his D1 Minnesota squad beat Team Loaded (NC), 77-59, Team Loaded (NC) at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale at Basketball City.

    Among those in attendance were Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas’ Bill Self and Minnesota’s Richard Pitino, as well as assistant coaches from Kentucky, North Carolina and Indiana. Self coached Hurt last month on the gold-medal winning USA U18 team in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship.

    Hurt said he felt no pressure being watched by dozens of coaches.

    “I really don’t try to focus on that,” he told ZAGSBLOG. “I try to go out there, play my game and play for my teammates. Whoever is watching is watching.”