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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 / November 15.
  • Lance Stephenson is the No. 1 senior basketball player in the nation.

    Pittsburgh is the No. 1 college team in the land.

    Could the two be destined for a match?

    Pitt associate head coach Tom Herrion watched Stephenson drop 37 points last week on Brooklyn Boys & Girls in a loss and a source close to the situation says Stephenson has “interest” in the Panthers.

    Pittsburgh, the No. 1 team in the land, continues to mine New Jersey for some of the top guards in the nation.

    Plainfield (NJ) High junior point guard Isaiah Epps became the latest Garden State floor general to give a verbal commitment to the Panthers.

    The 6–foot-2, 170-pound Epps, who will graduate high school in 2010, chose Pitt over Maryland, Rutgers and Seton Hall. He took an official visit to the Big East school in October and ultimately chose the school because of his relationship with Pitt assistant coach Brandin Knight, who starred at Pitt and, before that, Seton Hall Prep and also played for the Playaz Basketball Club, the same AAU outfit Epps plays for now.

    “I decided to go to Pitt because I was cool with Brandin Knight and he played with the Playaz before,” Epps said Sunday by phone. “He had that relationship and I felt at home when I was at Pitt. I felt real comfortable.”

    Epps, who is also cousins with current Pitt freshman guard Travon Woodall of Paterson, N.J., cannot a sign a National Letter of Intent until November. He will visit Pitt next Sunday and will stay for Monday’s Syracuse game.

    **Here’s my game story from Louisville’s exciting 61-60 victory over Villanova at the Wachovia Center.

    These quotes are in my story, but they are absolutely tremendous.

    Here’s Louisville coach Rick Pitino on how loaded the Big East is this year with nine teams in the Top 25.

    “Like I told the guys last night, I said, ‘For me, I think I look forward to this more than any year I ever coached basketball because you’ll never see this competition probably ever again,’” Pitino said. “You’ll see great teams from Georgetown, Pitt or Villanova in a given year, but you’ll never see 12, 13 teams in any league be as tenacious and as tough as this. I told the guys, ‘It’s the ultimate challenge. You get it once in a lifetime. And how lucky are we?’

    PHILLY — Just pulled into the Wachovia Center for today’s ESPN tilt between No. 17 Villanova and No. 23 Louisville. I managed to get here before the snow arrived and tried to purchase some Allman Brothers tickets on the phone while driving down. No luck, what good are these Amex cards anyway if you can’t buy in advance? Looks like I’ll be standing in line at the Beacon Theater early Friday morning…Anyway, my plan was to pull a double-dip today and cover this game and then drive up to Syracuse-Rutgers, but we’ll see how the day goes….

    In the meantime, here are some quick updates on Fordham, Quincy Hankins, Dexter Strickland, Beas Hamga and St. Benedict’s.

    ***Fordham has offered scholarships to 6–foot-4 Mount Vernon senior wing Sherrod Wright and 6–7 junior Ron Roberts of St. Peter’s Prep. The Rams, who have two ships for next year, are also involved with junior forward Joel “Air Jamaica” Wright of Thomas Jefferson.

    ***Got a call from Matt Furjanic, the head coach at Polk (Fla.) Community College. He says 6–8 forward Quincy Hankins is “wide open now” and is hearing from Seton Hall, South Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma and others.