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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 / September 26.
  • Huge Weekend for High School Hoops; West Milford in for a Big Test

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    With the holiday weekend almost upon us, I’m once again at the point where I’d like to clone myself and be in 3 or 4 different places at once….Unfortunately the cloning equipment isn’t up to speed for that quite yet. And besides, does the world really need 3 or 4 Adam Zagorias walking around? I don’t think so. But I digress…

    There are tremendous high school events going on this weekend in Jersey City, NJ (Dan Finn Classic), Springfield, Mass (Hoophall Classic), New York City (Big Apple Invitational) and Paterson, NJ (Freedom Fighters Challenge).

    I’ll probably hit the Big Apple on Saturday to see Lance Stephenson, then go to Seton Hall-UConn Sunday before winding up in Springfield on Monday for the four games to be televised on ESPNU.

    I’ve posted the links and schedules to all of the events at the bottom of this post. What’s interesting to me is that several teams — Lincoln, St. Anthony, St. Benedict’s and Thomas Jefferson, to name a few– will actually participate in multiple events.

    Stephenson and the Railsplitters will play Syracuse commit Brandon Triche and Jamestown-DeWitt Saturday night at the Big Apple and then head to Springfield for Monday’s tilt with DeMarcus Cousins and LeFlore (Ala.).

    Villanova-bound wing Dominic Cheek and St. Anthony will meet Pitt commit Isaiah Epps and Plainfield Saturday night in the Dan Finn and then go to Springfield for Monday’s tilt with Memphis-bound wing Xavier Henry (pictured) and Putnam City (Ok.). That game will mark the debuts of St. Anthony’s three transfers: Devon Collier, Ashton Pankey and Derrick Williams. Read about them here.

    St. Benedict’s, led by the Texas-bound duo of Tristan Thompson and Myck Kabongo, will take on St. Joe’s commit David Bruce and Linden on Saturday at the Dan Finn and then meet Ari Stewart and Wheeler (Ga.) in Springfield Monday.

    Thomas Jefferson of Brooklyn, which features Davontay Grace, Keith Spellman and Joel “Air Jamaica Wright,” will face Long Island Lutheran on Saturday at the Big Apple before heading to P-Town to face Fordham-bound wing Lance Brown and Paterson Catholic on Monday.


    One team that will face a supreme test this weekend is West Milford out of Passaic County, N.J. In a four-day span, John Finke’s Highlanders will face Passaic Tech (Friday), Paterson Kennedy (Saturday) and Paterson Eastside (Monday).

    “In a four-day time period, we’ve never done anything like this before,” said Finke, whose team is a perfect 8-0. “We’ll play anybody, we don’t care. But to group it like this, I’m really excited about how we respond.”

    The Highlanders are led by Jay Sofman, who is averaging 17.5 points per game; Mac Morando, averaging 10 points, 7.5 assists and 5 steals; and Chad Houser, a first-team All-Passaic selection averaging 11 points. Nick Solicito is 24 of 57 from beyond the arc.

    West Milford has twice reached the semis of the Passaic County tournament and last year reached the quarters. If the Highlanders can pull off a couple wins this weekend, they could help their seeding in the tournament and avoid the brutal 4-5 game.

    “This weekend will tell,” Finke said. “We need to beat some of those teams that are perennially ranked higher. We don’t get much respect within the county.

    “This weekend will go a long way toward people saying maybe they can play or maybe they can’t.”


    ***Jan. 17Dan Finn Classic, Jersey City

    Noon — Seton Hall Prep vs. St. Peter’s Prep

    1:30 — Colt’s Neck Girls vs. Shabazz

    4:30 — Trenton Catholic vs. Paterson Catholic

    6:15 — Linden vs. St. Benedict’s

    8 — Plainfield vs. St. Anthony

    ***Jan. 16-19 Spalding Hoophall Classic, Springfield, Mass.

    Monday’s ESPNU Games

    10 a.m. — St. Anthony vs. Putnam City (Ok.)

    Noon — St. Benedict’s vs. Wheeler (Ga.)

    2 p.m. — Lincoln vs. LeFlore (Ala.)

    4 p.m. — Mater Dei (Calif.) vs. Whitney Young (Il.)

    ***Jan. 17 & 19Big Apple Invitational, NYC

    Jan. 17

    Baruch College

    12 p.m. – St. Peter’s (Staten Island) vs. Cardozo

    1:45 – Notre Dame Prep vs. Apex

    3:30 – Long Island Lutheran vs. Jefferson (Brooklyn)

    5:15 – Pine Crest (Fla.) vs. Rice

    7 – Jamesville-DeWitt (NY) vs. Lincoln

    Monday, Jan. 19

    Hunter College

    11 a.m. – Greenport (Long Island) vs. Molloy

    12:45 – Pine Crest vs. Loughlin

    2:30 – Long Island Lutheran vs. Rice

    4:15 – St. Thomas More (Conn.) vs. Blair

    ***Jan. 19 — Freedom Fighters Hoop Challenge, Paterson Catholic, NJ

    3 p.m. — Paterson Eastside vs. West Milford

    4:30 — Paterson Kennedy vs. DePaul

    6 — Paterson Catholic vs. Thomas Jefferson

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    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.