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.
Jrue Holiday to Hire Agent; James Returning to Texas; Harangody Undecided; UConn's Walker Out of U19s
UCLA guard Jrue Holiday will hire an agent and definitely turn pro after his freshman season.
“It wasn’t really [a tough decision],” Holiday told the L.A. Daily News. “I’m in the position I want to be in. I’m hearing lottery, and that’s where I want to be.”Holiday has yet to name his agent but Dan Fegan has been advising him during the process.
Holiday made the announcement on Friday after working out for the Sacramento Kings for the second time. Sacramento has the No. 4 pick in the draft.The day before, he worked out for the Knicks alongside Davidson guard Stephen Curry and admitted he didn’t have his best workout.The 6-3 Holiday averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 assists in his only season at UCLA. Holiday has also worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns as a point guard but he played shooting guard last season alongside point guard Darren Collison.“I can distribute the ball, I’m a leader, I have vision, can definitely get it to the open man,” Holiday said Thursday. “I can read the floor well, know who’s hot and who’s not. And I can score myself.”As for playing the off guard spot next to Collison, he added: “Darren was our star point guard for four years. He was the senior captain of the team. He’s been to the Final Four three years so he knows what he’s doing.“I think it helps me because they see that I can play off guard as well as point guard. They saw that I could play the two.”
He also believes that he can defend at an elite level because that’s what UCLA is known for.
“[Coach Ben Howland] puts an emphasis on defense,” Holiday said. “There’s a lot of people in the league don’t play defense like UCLA plays. You can name a lot of them [in the NBA].Trevor Ariza, Jordan Farmar, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Aaron Afflalo, that’s definitely an advantage.”
DAMION JAMES RETURNING TO TEXASTexas got some good news when 6-7 junior G/F Damion James opted to return to campus instead of staying in the draft.James averaged 15.4 points and 9.2 rebounds last season.
“This process has been a great learning experience,” James said. “I’ve been able to get a much better understanding of how the NBA works and what they are looking for from me. That will definitely help when I go through this process again next year.”
HARANGODY WEIGHING OPTIONSNotre Dame junior forward Luke Harangody is still mulling whether or not to hire an agent. He has until Monday to decide whether or not to remain in the draft.
“It’s going to be a difficult decision,” Harangody told reporters in Chicago after working out Wednesday for the Bulls. “It’s 50-50. There’s definitely a lot of things for me to think about.”
Harangody, who averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds last season, has worked out for seven NBA teams.
At 6-8, Harangody could be a bit undersized at power forward.
“The only thing that’s going to hold me back is my height issue,” Harangody told reporters, according to the Dekalb Daily Chronicle. “That’s kind of disappointing for me to hear but that’s the reality of it. But I think I make up for that with my intensity and work ethic.”
UCONN’S WALKER OUT OF U19s, PITT’S GIBBS IN
UConn guard Kemba Walker of New York announced this week that he would withdraw from the U19 World Championship trials to attend summer school and play at the LeBron James Skills Academy.
Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu also pulled out for family reasons, ESPN’s Andy Katz reported.
Pitt guard Ashton Gibbs, out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey, was added to the tryout roster.
With Walker out of the mix, look for West Virginia guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant of New York to make the team as a floor general.
“Basically I have to work on my game, period,” Bryant told the West Virginia Website. “[The coaches] didn’t tell me to work on specific things but I’ve just got to work on my all-around game. I’ve also got to work on becoming a better leader.”
The team will compete at the FIBA U19 World Championships July 2-12 in New Zealand.
JENNINGS ON CAMPUS AT WVU
Speaking of West Virginia, 6-8, 260-pound freshman big man Danny Jennings of Staten Island, N.Y., is the only member of the four-man recruiting class on campus.
“Defensively,” Ebanks told the Charleston Daily Mail, “he has the skills to help right now. Offensively his game needs some work, but he loves to rebound and block shots, which is something we need.”
Center Dee Proby has left the team.
West Virginia is still one over the scholarship limit.
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.