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.
John Riek, a 7-foot-2 native of the Sudan, has chosen to play for the Bulldogs over Cincinnati and Providence. Riek initially committed to Cincinnati last August.
“I just talked to him today he said he went and visited the school,” Winchendon (Mass.) School coach Mike Byrnes said. “He liked it. He felt very comfortable with Mississippi State’s ESL program and is hoping to start summer school in early June.”
Byrnes added: “I asked him if he was academically qualified and he said he’s still waiting to hear from the NCAA Clearinghouse.”
“He’s a super nice kid,” Byrnes added. “His English has come so, so, so far. He’s much easier to talk to. He’s much easier to understand. He’s come so far since he first stepped on our campus.”
The NCAA is also investigating whether Riek violated his amateur status by receiving improper benefits during his journey from Sudan to the U.S.
Riek left Winchendon and is now playing for Dan Barto at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but Barto was not immediately available for comment.
Riek wowed scouts at the LeBron James Academy in 2007 and was projected as an NBA lottery pick, but then suffered a knee injury while lifting weights at the Winchendon (Mass.) School.) He then moved over to IMG and later had ACL surgery last June.
He declared for last year’s NBA Draft, only to withdraw because of his injury.
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.