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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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Wednesday / November 30.
  • Nearly a week after DeAndre Kane took an official visit to Seton Hall, his high school coach says Kane made a verbal commitment to play for the Pirates.

    “He just told me he committed,” Patterson (N.C.) head coach Chris Chaney said Friday night by phone. “He did say he felt comfortable and really enjoyed the visit.”

    Kane has not answered repeated text messages and voice mails.

    “My boy goes there, Herb Pope,” Kane told me recently about Seton Hall. “That’s my boy. He told me it’s nice. I’ve been talking to Coach [Scott] Adubato.” Pope, a native of Aliquippa, Pa., is sitting out the year at Seton Hall after transferring from New Mexico State.

    If the 6-foot-3 Kane eventually signs a National Letter of Intent during the late signing period beginning in April, he would be head coach Bobby Gonzalez’s first commitment from the Class of 2009. Kane is averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists for Patterson, the top prep program in the nation.

    Paterson Catholic and St. Patrick normally wouldn’t meet until the New Jersey North Non-Public B state playoffs in March, but now the squads will square off on Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the Beach Ball Class in South Carolina.

    “I saw them tonight,” Paterson Catholic coach Damon Wright said by phone of the Celtics after both teams advanced. “They looked very dominant, very guard heavy. We gotta do a good job of playing good defense, just focus on defense. Hopefully they don’t shoot the ball as well as they did in the second half today.”

    North Carolina-bound guard Dexter Strickland tallied 20 points and Derrick Gordon and Chase Plummer added 11 apiece to lift the Celtics, No. 2 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50, to a 71-50 victory over Mullins (SC) in the first round.

    The Celtics (3-1) , fresh off Tuesday’s loss to No. 1 Mater Dei in the final of the City of Palms Classic, actually trailed 27-26 at halftime before waking up and outscoring Mullins (7-2) 45-23 in the second half.

    Former Paterson Catholic standout Shaquille Thomas is in the process of transferring to Mountain State Academy in Beckley, W. Va.

    In a story first broken by ZAGSBLOG in October, the 6-foot-5 Thomas first left Paterson Catholic for Montclair High School.

    But the NJSIAA declined to give him a waiver that would have allowed him to play there this year.

    Now the 6-foot-5 Thomas will likely suit up at Mountain State, which is ranked No. 42 by ESPN Rise and features two players committed to West Virginia and a third going to Nebraska.

    “Everything is verbal right now,” said a source close to Thomas who asked not to be identified. “At least by the middle of next week, everything should be pretty sealed.

    Former Arizona center Jeff Withey will transfer to Kansas.

    The 7-feet, 225-pound Withey visited Kansas as a recruit but chose to play for Arizona and legendary coach Lute Olson instead. When Olson opted to retire in October, Withey decided to leave. He notified Kansas head coach Bill Self of his decision on Sunday but waited until after Arizona beat Kansas 84-67 to announce.

    “I talked to my family, and we all sat down and looked at all the options,” Withey told the Kansas-City Star. “At the end of the day, we realized that Kansas is the best fit for me. I’ve been watching them on TV, and I just feel like I can come in and help them out next year. I can go into practice and play against Cole (Aldrich) and the (Morris) twins and help them out, and they’ll help me out. It’s a really good situation for me.”

    I first met Nicole Louden in 1997 when she was a freshman at Kennedy High School in Paterson, NJ. She went on to become the all-time leading scorer — boys or girls — in Passaic County before earning a full scholarship to Auburn University. I wrote my first book, “She’s Got Handle,” thanks to the cooperation of Nicole and her family. Now she’s playing professionally for Valosun Brno in the Czech Republic. Here’s a guest blog from Nicole, who’s back in Paterson for the holidays:

    Hey! It feels great to get a mental and physical break from practices twice a day, games twice a week, and my home away from home (THE GYM:). I am playing in the Czech Republic, central Europe, and the season has been amazing thus far. We currently sit at third place, behind Lindsay Whalen’s (USK Praha) and Tamika Whitmore’s (Gambrinus), respectively. Being able to compete against the likes of Linday Whalen, Swin Cash, Tamika Whitmore, and many other high caliber players makes me realize how blessed I am to have the greatest profession in the world:) I had the opportunity to watch my once cross town high school rival, Essence Carson, compete against Tamika Whitmore’s team. Although Essence’s team lost, she played very well. Then I realized how mind boggling it is to have watched her play so many miles away from the US, and I never see her in our hometown.