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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DeJuan Blair to Declare for NBA; Dennis Asks for Release; Dixon Sets Visits
DeJuan Blair will announce Thursday afternoon at a press conference that he will declare for the NBA Draft.
Among others who will declare for the NBA Draft are Chase Budinger of Arizona, James Johnson and Jeff Teague of Wake Forest and Demar Derozan of USC, according to Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com.
Blair, the Big East-Co Player of the Year and a first-team All-America pick, averaged 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds. He is also one of three finalists for the Naismith Award, along with Blake Griffin (Oklahoma) and Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina). Blair is projected to go in the mid- to late-first round. If he performs well at the workouts, his status could improve.
Pittsburgh attorney James Cook issued a press release Wednesday saying he will advise Blair in the pre-draft process, before Blair picks an agent.
“DeJuan Blair is Pittsburgh through and through, from the junior program J.O.T.S. through Schenley High School to the University of Pittsburgh,” Cook said in the statement. “We are confident that he will make the city of Pittsburgh proud and enjoy a long NBA career.”
Blair helped Pitt become No. 1 in the nation this season, when it twice beat UConn. In one of those games, he flipped UConn center Hasheem Thabeet over his shoulder to the ground, demonstrating his tremendous strength.
“I think he’s an NBA player,” Pitt coach Jamie Dixon told The Associated Press. “I told him that from the time we recruited him. I’ve always had a higher opinion of him than most scouting services and coaches and most media observers. I always thought of him as an NBA player.”
The Panthers haven’t had an NBA first-round pick since guard Vonteego Cummings in 1999, but could have two this year with Blair and forward Sam Young.DENNIS ASKS FOR RELEASENow that DeMarcus Cousins is headed to Kentucky, Nolan Dennis could be next.
Dennis, a 6-5 wing out of North Richland Hills (TX), has asked for his release from Memphis and wants to follow coach John Calipari to Kentucky, Carol Dennis, Nolan’s mother, told Scout.com.
“John was close to all his players,” Carol Dennis previously told the Star-Telegram. “He is a wonderful guy. He can be hard, but it’s a good hard because a lot of kids need a good hard when they’re playing. He only pushes you to get you to another level. … That’s why my son loves him so much, because he’ll push you.”
6-10 center Daniel Orton of Bishop McGuinnes (Ok.) has asked for his release from Kentucky and said he’s undecided about whether or not to remain committed to Kentucky or go somewhere else, according to Scout.com. Orton initially had interest from Kansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and others...Latavious Williams, a 6-7 PF from Humble (Texas) Christian Life ranked No. 6 at his position by Rivals, is considering Memphis, Baylor, Kansas State, Georgetown and Marquette, his coach, Carlos Wilson, said by phone. “He’s getting ready to decide here in the next week or so,” Wilson said….Jerry Meyers reports that Solomon Hill, a 6-6 SF from Los Angeles Fairfax who verballed to USC, is considering both Arizona and Memphis…Onetime SetonHall commit Cliff Dixon, a 6-9 forward from Hutchinson (Ks.) Community College, says he will take visits to Seton Hall (April 18), Western Kentucky and Missouri and two others. “I will sign by the end of April,”he said. Ferrakohn Hall, a 6-7 PF from Memphis White Station, will also visit Seton Hall April 18.
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.