April 2009 | Zagsblog
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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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Sunday / May 19.
  • Eric Bledsoe, the No. 3 point guard in the Class of 2009, arrived in Memphis Thursday for his official visit and was overwhelmed by the local media.

    Bledsoe will head to Kentucky on Friday and then decide between John Calipari’s old and new programs.

    “I’m just looking for the opportunity to play ball and make it to the next level,” Bledsoe, a senior at Parker (AL) High, told a crowd of reporters in an interview broadcast on MyFoxMemphis.

    Renardo Sidney signed with Mississippi State on Thursday.

    The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Sidney, a native of Jackson, Miss., is rated the No. 5 power forward in the Class of 2009. He verbally committed to USC in February but never signed a Letter of Intent.

    “It’s good to be coming back home,” said Sidney, who averaged 23.4 points and 10.6 rebounds this past season at Los Angeles Fairfax High. “A lot of my family hasn’t been able to see me play the last three years and it will be good to be around them again. Mississippi State is a great school with a great program, and I”m coming in to help them win a national championship and build a bond with my new teammates.”

    Oklahoma sophomore forward Blake Griffin, the National Player of the Year and likely No. 1 pick, is among the 103 players listed as early entry candidates for the 2009 NBA draft.

    The league announced Thursday that 74 players from U.S. colleges and 29 international players had filed for early entry before the April 26 deadline. The draft is set for June 25 and players without agents must withdraw their names by June 15.

    Griffin, who led the nation in double-doubles last season, announced his intention to turn pro April 7 after one year with the Sooners.

    Joining Griffin on the list is the North Carolina backcourt ofpoint guard Ty Lawson and shooting guard Wayne Ellington.

    Among the Big East players who declared

    Former St. Patrick of Elizabeth standout Quintrell Thomas has narrowed his choices to UNLV, St. Joe’s and Siena.

    The 6-foot-8 Thomas is transferring from Kansas and hopes to have a decision made by mid-May.

    He visited St. Joe’s last weekend, heads to UNLV this weekend and then goes to Siena the following weekend.

    Eric Bledsoe, the No. 3 point guard in the Class of 2009, will take a step closer to making his college decision this weekend when he visits John Calipari’s old and new programs.

    “He’s going to Memphis Thursday and then going to Kentucky Saturday,” said Maurice Ford, Bledsoe’s high school coach at Birmingham (AL) Parker.

    Are any other schools in the mix?

    “That’s it,” Ford said.

    And when will Bledsoe decide?

    “Probably toward the end of next week,” Ford said.

    The 6-foot, 160-pound Bledsoe averaged 20.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists in leading Parker to the Class 5A state championship game. The

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