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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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Friday / April 23.
  • I had a chance to catch up with Memphis head coach John Calipari on the phone today and we covered several topics, including Seton Hall, Tyreke Evans and Xavier Henry.

    [For more on Seton Hall, check out Fooch’s interview with Pirates head coach Bobby Gonzalez filmed in a leafy suburb]

    **Memphis beat Seton Hall in the Puerto Rico Tip-off, but Pirates guard Jeremy Hazell went off for a career-high 32 points.

    “He can really shoot the ball,” Calipari said of Hazell, who was named Big East Player of the Week after leading Seton Hall to a 2-1 record in Puerto Rico. “I think what they have are, they’ve got quick guards. With [Robert “Stix”] Mitchell back and the two big kids [John Garcia and Mike Davis], they’re not going to come at you with 9 and 10 guys. But the guys that they have are quick and active and have pride and have a swagger about them. I like their team. I just think we were a little fast and without Mitchell they were one guy short.”

    After 5 hours of watching college hoops tonight, I feel like I’ve just seen a couple of games in March Madness.

    How good were those Notre Dame-Texas and Syracuse-Kansas games? Incredible action for November.

    And a couple of impressive victories by the Big East.

    Syracuse came from 13 points down in the second half to defeat defending national champion Kansas, 89-81 in overtime in the final of the CBE Classic in Kansas City. Jonny Flynn was the star for the Orange, drilling a 3-pointer from the right wing to send the game to overtime and finishing with 25 points.

    “I just thought I had to do something to redeem my team,” Flynn told ESPN. “I just saw the opportunity and I shot the shot and thank God it went in.”

    When defending national champion Kansas takes on 2003 NCAA champ Syracuse tonight in the final of the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic on ESPN2 (10 o’clock), look for a couple of rookies with New Jersey ties to play a key role.

    Freshman Marcus Morris, a Philly native who played at Apex Academies in Cherry Hill, N.J., and former St. Anthony of Jersey City star Tyshawn Taylor both started in KU’s 73-54 rout of Washington last night.

    The 6-foot-8 Morris finished with 13 points, canning 6-of-9 shots from the field. The 6-3 Taylor tallied a career-best 10 points, including a lay-up at the buzzer to give KU its 32-22 lead at the break.

    Lots of holiday week action on the hardwood…

    **No. 2 UConn beat No. 19 Wisconsin, 76-57, to win the Paradise Jam in the first ever meeting between the schools. Jerome Dyson led the Huskies with 21 points and 3 steals, former Rice standout Kemba Walker continued to excel by notching 12 points, 8 rebounds and 4 steals and Jeff Adrien added 14 points and 8 boards.

    Junior Hasheem Thabeet was named the tournament Most Valuable Player after a dominating defensive performance over the three games. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by Dyson, Walker, Jack McClinton of Miami, Trevon Hughes of Wisconsin and Jeremy Wise of Southern Mississippi.

    Dominic Cheek says he enjoyed his weekend official visit to Rutgers but is still open to the five schools recruiting him.

    Cheek did not commit during the early signing period in November and will choose from among Kansas, Memphis, Villanova, Pittsburgh and Rutgers and sign in the spring.

    Cheek spent Friday-Sunday at Rutgers watching the Scarlet Knights beat Robert Morris Friday and then lose by one point, 64-63, in overtime to St. Bonaventure Sunday.

    “I hung out with the players,” the 6-foot-5 Cheek, an All-State selection out of St. Anthony in Jersey City, said Monday by phone. “I asked them a lot of questions about the school and everything. I hung out with Mike Rosario, Corey Chandler, Anthony Farmer and Christian Morris.”

    Jai Lucas knows Kentucky’s point guard situation is unsettled and is considering that legendary program as his next destination after announcing he was leaving Florida.

    “You can obviously watch the [Kentucky-North Carolina] game and see where a point guard would help a little bit,” Lucas told KentuckySports.com. “They’re capable of being a good team. They’re missing that, you know, piece right now.”

    He added: “It makes you think because that’s exactly something I’m looking for.”

    Lucas is back home in Houston for Thanksgiving and plans to visit Rice, Texas A&M and Texas, the Website reported. He is also reportedly considering Arkansas and Kentucky.