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.
New Jersey and the Hurley family cleaned up in the USA Today national basketball awards.
St. Benedict’s Prep senior center Samardo Samuels was named the USA Today Player of the Year, while St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley was selected Coach of the Year.
The 6-9 Samuels avergaed 24.2 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots while leading Danny Hurley’s Gray Bees to a 24-1 record and the No. 2 ranking in several national polls.
“Coach Hurley was a lot harder on me this year than he was last year,” Samuels told the paper. “He wanted to make sure that I was ready to go to Louisville. … There were times when I talked back to my coach, and you never win by doing that.”
The rest of the first team included Lance Stephenson of Brooklyn Lincoln; Jrue Holiday of Hollywood (Ca.) North Campbell Hall; Brandon Jennings of Oak Hill ACademy; and B.J. Mullens of Canal (OHio) Winchester.
The New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year, Samuels was MVP of three big-time tournaments this season, the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., the Bojangles’ Shootout in Charlotte and the Nike Super Six in New York.
Bob Hurley was named Coach of the Year after leading the Friars to a perfect 32-0 record and the 10th Tournament of Champions title in the 20 years of the event. Hurley, 60, has a career record of 931-102. Six of his players are headed to D-1 schools, including McDonald’s All-American Mike Rosario, a second-team USA Today All-American headed to Rutgers.
“You learn about the kids the more you coach them,” Hurley told the paper. Maybe you increase a kid’s role or change a style of play. With this group, we’ve given them some freedom and watched a little bit.”
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.