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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 / December 18.
  • NBA Comings & Goings; Coaching Carousel

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    DETROIT – I’m sitting here in the Detroit airport waiting for a flight back to New York City, and I figured it was appropriate to launch this post with the above tune from my boys in KISS. Detroit might be great for hosting classic rockers, but they shouldn’t host a Final Four anytime soon. At least not before they get the Internet and weather situations sorted out here…

    Anyway, here are some tidbits on the NBA comings and goings and the Coaching Carousel in the wake of Carolina’s 89-72 rout of Michigan State last night in the NCAA title game:

    **Gary Bedore of the Lawrence Journal World spoke to Carl Henry, who refuted this rumor that new Memphis coach Josh Pastner had hired Henry as his DOBO.

    “I can’t work at Memphis. I don’t want to work at Memphis. If I took that job I couldn’t do what I do – work with kids,” said Henry, who coaches the Athletes First AAU team in Oklahoma City.

    “I am not going to coach my kids [in college]. I’d rather watch my kids play. I’ve told the [college] coaches before, ‘I don’t want to coach them; it’s your job now.'”

    The story goes on to say that both Xavier and C.J. have gotten their releases and the paperwork has been sent off to Kansas and  Kentucky for Bill Self and John Calipari to review.

    Carl added that no decision on the boys’ future is imminent. They could opt to remain at Memphis with Pastner or attend Kansas or Kentucky.

    “Xavier is leaving tomorrow for Oregon [and the Nike Hoop Summit]. After that he goes to New York [for the Jordan Classic, April 18],” Carl Henry said. “The only way they could do it is if C.J. and Xavier talk [soon] and decide something between themselves. Our family likes to sit down and discuss things. That’s the way we do things and Xavier will be gone two weeks.

    “I’d like them to get this over with. The school year is about over and they need to know where they are going to college. Whether they stay together [at Memphis] or go somewhere together or split up, they have to decide.”

    **Seton Hall assistant Scott Adubato’s name is being tossed around by the Memphis Commercial-Appeal and others as a potential candidate to work on Pastner’s staff. Adubato, ranked No. 87 among assistant coaches nationally by Basketball Times (see list below), spent seven years with the Memphis Grizzlies, has ties to the local area and is a strong presence who commands respect.

    **To no one’s surprise, Blake Griffin announced Tuesday that he plans to enter the NBA Draft.

    Most experts believe the 6-foot-10 forward will be the first pick in the draft on June 25.

    Underclassmen have until April 26 to declare for the draft and until June 15 to withdraw.

    Griffin was the consensus National Player of the Year and led the Sooners to a 30-6 season, averaging 22.7 points and a nation-leading 14.4 rebounds.

    **New Arizona coach Sean Miller will have to get by, as expected, without 6-7 junior wing Chase Budinger. He will hire an agent and is headed to the NBA after averaging 8.0 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists this year, while shooting 39.9 percent from the 3-point line.

    “I am so thankful for the fans and alumni at Arizona that have been so supportive of me throughout my time in Tucson,” Budinger said in a statement that appeared in the Sporting News. “I’d like to express my appreciation to my coaches and teammates for their support in one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. I will not be returning to Arizona and I will be entering the 2009 NBA draft.”

    **Louisville junior Earl Clark of Rahway, N.J., is also gone, according to reports. Freshman forward Samardo Samuels of St. Benedict’s is expected to stay for at least one more year.

    **Pitt sophomore center DeJuan Blair told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that an official announcement on his future could come Wednesday or Thursday, but that he won’t hire an agent. He will test the waters and could pull his name out until June 15.

    “I still have to speak to some people,” Blair said. “There are still some things in the process that I have to go through.”

    **Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks will do the same thing, submit his name but not hire an agent.

    Meeks, a junior, averaged 23.7 points for the Wildcats last season. He poured in a school-record 54 points in a win over Tennessee in January. .

    Last week, Meeks wasn’t sure about coming back for his senior year after Kentucky hired John Calipari. Calipari says he’ll sit down with players to discuss their future with the program.

    **Pitt coach Jamie Dixon was named the Naismith Coach of the Year after leading the Panthers to the Elite 8, where they lost to Villanova.

    “Pittsburgh had a tremendous season and much of that success goes to Jamie and the wonderful coaching job he did with this team,” Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president, told the Post-Gazette. “During his six seasons he has built a solid program that continues to produce wonderful results, both on and off the court.”

    **North Carolina junior guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington are expected to follow seniors Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green into the NBA, but 6-10 freshman Ed Davis will stay for his sophomore year.

    “I’m definitely coming back,” Davis, who had 11 points and 8 rebounds in the 89-72 win over Michigan State, told ESPN.com.

    Chad Ford had Davis No. 4 in his mock draft if he had chosen to come out. He has Lawson at No. 20; Ellington at No. 31; Hansbrough at No. 43 and Green at No. 64.

    With Davis and Deon Thompson likely back up front, watch out for the Heels again next season. Carolina brings in the nation’s top recruiting class, including 6-5 SG Leslie McDonald; 6-10 PF John Henson; 6-9 twins David and Travis Wear; and 6-3 SG Dexter Strickland of St. Patrick.

    **Jersey’s own Dick Vitale has Kansas, Duke and Syracuse as his top three going into next season. If Sherron  Collins and Cole Aldrich both return to Kansas, and the Jayhawks pick up Henry or Lance Stephenson, watch out. Duke returns everyone of significance except Greg Paulus and adds 6-9 Ryan Kelly and 6-10 Mason Plumlee. I think Dickie V is off on Syracuse, which could lose Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris to the NBA or other pro leagues.

    **Maryland-bound power forward James Padgett of Brooklyn Lincoln was named MVP of the Charm City Challenge after posting 22 points on 11-of-13 shooting.

    **Basketball Times posted a list of the Top 100 coaches and Top 100 assistants. While we find some of these rankings a bit arbitrary, I’m going to go ahead and give the Big East coaches on each list.

    Head Coaches:

    1-Rick Pitino (Louisville)

    2-Roy Williams (Carolina)

    3-Coach K (Duke)

    4-Jim Calhoun (UConn)

    10-Bob Huggins (West Va.)

    11-Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)

    12-Jamie Dixon (Pitt)

    22-Jay Wright (‘Nova)

    25-John Thompson III (Georgetown)

    36-Mike Brey (Notre Dame)

    56-Bobby Gonzalez (Seton Hall)

    66-Mick Cronin (Cincinnati)

    Up-and Coming Coaches:

    1-Anthony Grant (now at Alabama)

    3-Buzz Williams (Marquette)

    5-Keno Davis (Providence)

    Assistant Coaches:

    1-Larry Shyatt (Florida)

    2-Joe Dooley (Kansas)

    3-Billy Hahn (West Virginia)

    8-Tommy Herrion (Pitt)

    10-Mike Hopkins (Syracuse)

    12-Larry Harrison (West Va.)

    14-Tony Benford (Marquette)

    18-Steve Masiello (Louisville)

    25-Bernie Fine (Syracuse)

    31-Pat Chambers (‘Nova) — Since hired as HC at BU

    41-Pat Skerry (Providence)

    48-Larry Davis (Cincy)

    49-Andre LaFleur (UConn)

    50-Jimmy Carr (Rutgers)

    57-Sean Kearney (Notre Dame)

    61-Sean Quartlebaum (St. John’s)

    63-Robert Burke (G’town)

    68-Pat Sellers (UConn)

    74-Rob Murphy (Syracuse)

    78-Anthony Solomon (Notre Dame)

    83-Jason Donnelly (‘Nova)

    87-Scott Adubato (Seton Hall)

    94-Kenya Hunter (G’town)

    98-Richard Pitino (Louisville)

    **USA Today released its final Super 25 rankings and two Jersey teams made the Top 10:

    1-Findlay Prep (Nev.) – 33-0

    2-Oak Hill (Va.) – 40-1

    3-Bloomington South (Ind.) – 26-0

    4-St. Patrick (N.J.) – 30-3

    5-Westchester (Calif.) – 35-2

    6-Montrose Christian (Md.) – 22-3

    7-St. Benedict’s (N.J.) – 24-3

    8-King (Calif.) 30-3

    9-Mater Dei (Calif.) – 31-2

    10-Hopkins (Minn.) – 31-0

    (The AP contributed)

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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.