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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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Thursday / May 30.
  • PHILADELPHIA – Dante Cunningham just poured in 31 points to tie his career-high as No. 17 Villanova absolutely hammered No. 20 Syracuse 102-85 before more than 20,000 fans, including Donovan McNabb, here at the Wachovia Center.

    (The game story should be up shortly on SNY.tv.)

    There can be no doubt that the 6-foot-8 Cunningham has drastically improved his stock and appears headed toward being selected in the NBA Draft. He leads the Wildcats in scoring (16.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.3).

    “That’s definitely something that’s in the back of my mind, but right now it’s definitely all Villanova basketball,” he said of the NBA.

    I’m headed down to the Syracuse-Villanova game today at the Wachovia Center which should be a good one. Noon tilt on ESPN.

    In the meantime, here’s a few quick notes:

    HAZELL NOT THINKING NBA

    I was going to do a feature in advance of tomorrow’s Seton Hall-Rutgers game on Jeremy Hazell and his future plans, but for some reason my tape recorder was on the fritz after the Pirates beat St. John’s 91-81 Thursday night. Anyway, I spent several minutes talking to Jeremy Hazell after he

    Lance Stephenson, Durand Scott and Dexter Strickland will headline the Nike Super 6 Showdown on Friday night at Fordham University.

    The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Stephenson led Lincoln to the Brooklyn AA league title Thursday when he scored 29 points in a 64-54 win over Boys & Girls. Stephenson also made news last week when he took an official visit to Maryland and then told me that his new list included St. John’s, Kansas, Maryland and USC. Memphis is out. Don’t be surprised if he leads Lincoln to the PSAL title on March 21 at Madison Square Garden and then announces amidst all the confetti and celebration that he’ll suit up next year for the Johnnies.

    NEWARK — How rough was it for St. John’s on Thursday night at Seton Hall?Even the players who never took the court got abused.

    As if Seton Hall’s 91-81 victory at The Prudential Center wasn’t bad enough, the Seton Hall student section mercilessly taunted injured St. John’s star Anthony Mason Jr. all night as he sat on the bench with a boot on his injured right foot. Mason Jr., who is out for the season, endured suggestions like “Put your dad in,” which was a reference to his father, Anthony Mason Sr., who starred for the Knicks a generation ago.

    Read the full tale here.

    And here are my predictions for how the three local teams will do

    DeMarcus Cousins, ranked the No. 1 power forward in his class, is down to a top five.

    The list now includes Memphis, Washington, N.C. State, Kansas State and Rice. No visits are yet planned. The list was first reported by Dave Telep of Scout.

    “There’s no particular order other than Memphis is really strong,” Mobile (Ala.) LeFlore High School coach Otis Hughley said in a phone interview. “Rice sort of climbed in there because of the 14-1 teacher-student ratio. They have real small classrooms. Marcus’ grades are really clmibing and he’s an intelligent kid. He’s got more interest in being a good student than most would give any athlete credit for. That’s really important.”

    Big game at The Rock tonight between St. John’s, coming off a win over South Florida Sunday, and Seton Hall, coming off back-to-back wins over Georgetown and Rutgers. Seton Hall is 5-2 against St. John’s in their last seven meetings. The Johnnies will have both point guard Malik Boothe and forward Rob Thomas back and healthy. Read VPHoops.com for Coach Norm Roberts’ quotes from yesterday’s presser. And see below for Gonzo’s SNY interview from last week….

    St. Patrick coach Kevin Boyle made one of the most incredible statements I’ve heard in a long time in the wake of last night’s 88-62 blowout victory over¬† St. Benedict’s at the RAC.

    “Kyrie Irving, when it’s all said and done, he will arguably be as good as any guard who’s played in New Jersey,” Boyle said. “Any guard. Ever. Ever. DaJuan Wagner, Bobby Hurley. You’re talking about a guy who’s a great shooter, a great finisher, he’s going to be as good as anybody who’s played in New Jersey.”

    One Big East assistant said without pausing:¬† “He’s a pro.”

    Boyle made the comments after Irving put on a show, scoring 21 points to go with 4 assists, 3 blocks, 3 steals and 3 rebounds in a rout of the No. 3 team in the nation.

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