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.
Pinkston Drops 30 & 9 on Plainfield; Rutgers, Virginia Coaches Look On
PATERSON, N.J. — Jayvaughn Pinkston was simply too big and too strong for Plainfield (N.J.) and the junior led Bishop Loughlin to a 77-59 rout of the Cardinals in the championship game of the inaugural Jingle Bells Jubilee at Paterson Catholic.
With Rutgers head coach Fred Hill and Virginia assistant Steve Seymour looking on, Pinkston, a junior forward listed at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, dropped a game-high 30 points and nine rebounds on a Plainfield team that has arguably the best backcourt in New Jersey and entered with no losses.
Scoring most of his points in the paint and in an up-tempo transition game, Pinkston made 13 of 21 shots and added 4 blocks, 3 steals and 2 assists.
“I was just trying to work hard, play along with my team and get the job done,” said Pinkston, who was named both Most Valuable Player and Most Outstanding Player of the event. “It was a good win.”
“Jayvaughn Pinkston is too much for everybody in this region down low,” Loughlin first-year coach Rudy King said. “And once he understands that if he continues to keep working like he’s doing in the gym and getting in that weight room, it’s going to be more and more of a problem for opponents.”
Senior forward Trevon Hamlet , who won the Sportsmanship Award, added 16 points for Loughlin (6-2). St. Peter’s, Quinnipiac, LIU, Norfolk State, Howard and Binghamton have expressed interest in him.
Plainfield junior guard Isaiah Epps, who holds offers from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Seton Hall, had a poor shooting night, scoring just eight points on 2-of-14 shooting. He made 6 turnovers and added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block.
“It just wasn’t on today, so I had to just play defense,” Epps said. “I didn’t know it was really going to happen, but it happened.”
Epps said he’s just “enjoying his high school life” right now and is unsure what he’ll do next year or the year after. Because he will be 19 by then, he cannot play high school ball in Jersey and will likely attend prep school.
Senior guard Anthony Baskerville and sophomore Tyrone Johnson added 16 points apiece for the Cardinals.
After Johnson scored to cut the Loughlin lead to 29-26, Loughlin pushed the tempo and closed the first half on a 10-2 run to seize a 39-28 halftime lead.
The Lions opened the second half with another 11-4 spurt, getting six points from Pinkston, to blow the game open at 50-32.
“It was a good experience for the younger kids that didn’t play varsity last year that played JV and freshman,” Pinkston said. “They played well this tournament and we’re looking to come back and win it next year.”
King said numerous schools are recruiting Pinkston, including St. John’s, Tennessee, Virginia, USC and Memphis.
“I know St. John’s is the frontrunner,” King said.
Pinkston’s former AAU coach, Kimani Young, is now on the staff at St. John’s and enjoys a close relationship with Pinkston.
For now, though, the Lions are focused on Catholic league play, which begins Jan. 3 against All Hallows.
“It’s a great feeling [to win], but we’re thinking about the season right now and [Pinkston] working on the fundamentals and all the things he needs to continue to grow,” King said.
David Robertson, Paterson Eastside
Tyshawn Pickett, Passaic
Ronald Roberts, St. Peter’s
Asmar Edwards, Paterson Kennedy
David Bruce, Linden
Brandon Frazier, Loughlin
Tyrone Johnson, Plainfield
Anthony Baskerville, Plainfield
Isaiah Epps, Plainfield
Jayvaughn Pinkston, Loughlin
Sportsmanship Award: Trevon Hamlet
MVP: Jayvaughn Pinkston
MOP: Jayvaughn Pinkston
IN THE OTHER GAMES…Linden downed Paterson Kennedy 46-31 in the third-place game. Sophomore forard Romell Bateman tallied a double-double of 16 points and 21 rebounds. Tevin Calhoun added 14 points and 7 boards. St. Joe’s commit David Bruce tallied 11 points and 8 rebounds….St. Peter’s beat Passaic, 59-49, in the fifth-place game.
RECRUITING NOTES: Rutgers had virtually its entire staff on hand, with head coach Fred Hill and assistants Jimmy Carr, Dennis Gregory and Danny Nee watching Epps, Johnson and Pinkston…Virginia assistant Steve Seymour was there to watch Pinkston. The Cavs have four ships for the Class of 2010 and are involved with Pinkston, St. Anthony big men Derrick Williams and Devon Collier and St. Patrick point guard Kyrie Irving.
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.