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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 / December 17.
  • Rutgers' Echenique Fired Up; Shepard to Findlay

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    I just spoke with St. Benedict’s Prep assistant coach Scott Smith for a story on Kyle Anderson that should be up later today.

    Smith is the American guardian for Gregory Echenique, the 6-foot-9 rising sophomore forward at Rutgers and he said Echenique is headed to Las Vegas to work out with famed trainer Joe Abunassar of Impact Basketball.

    “He’s going there for two days and coming back Sunday,” Smith said

    Smith said Echenique, a native of Venezuela, has lost about 20 pounds and is “down to 265. Hopefully he’ll be 260.”

    “He’s been working real hard this summer and Phil Dyer has done a great job with him down at Rutgers,” Smith said.

    Echenique was just 17 when he began his freshman year at Rutgers, and Smith said a year of experience and training will benefit him tremendously.

    “Playing at 17 years old in the Big East and playing as many minutes as he did, it was a big learning experience for him,” Smith said. “With the year under his belt and going to Spain [with the team] and used to being on his own, he couldn’t ask for a better result.”

    Smith said the team has been playing together all summer and Echenique is looking forward to playing with Florida transfer Jonathan Mitchell and freshmen big men Dane Miller and Austin Johnson.

    Rutgers also landed JUCO point guard James Beatty, who will fill a much needed spot on the floor for head coach Fred Hill.

    Star shooting guard Mike Rosario also benefitted by playing in Puerto Rico, France and New Zealand with the Puerto Rico U19 team. Rosario dropped 54 points on France in one game and led the event in scoring.

    “Mike’s done a great job playing overseas,” Smith said.

    “[Echenique] is very excited about Mitch, and Dane Miller also. Dane Miller has been real good. Austin Johnson also. They’re working real hard.

    “They know they have a lot of expectations this year to make a big jump. They have a lot of pieces to the puzzle. They’re excited and hopefully they’ll make a big jump”

    SHEPARD TO FINDLAY PREP

    Winston Clyde Shepard III from Houston, TX is transferring to Findlay Prep for the next 3 years.  Last year, the 6’7, 205 lb. forward attended Hightower High School in Missouri City, Texas, where he contributed as a freshman to the Houston team that finished the season as district Champs and a visit to Regional play for District 5-A.  Shepard leaves Hightower with a solid standing as a student.  Winston plays for Clayton Williams’ DreamVision AAU program.

    This spring, Winston helped his AAU team (Dream Vision) win the 2009 Bob Gibbons tournament in North Carolina in May.  In that event, Shepard was selected to the All Tournament team.  Shepard recently attended the 2009 Pangos All-American Camp where he was selected top 40.  He also attended the 2009 Adidas Phenom Camp, where HoopScoopOnline declared him the best player in the rising sophomore division.

    Clayton Williams of Dream Vision says, “Winston is a great person as well as an athlete and this kid has beyond this world talent.  I’ve seen Winn develop his skills over the past two years and it is a delight to watch a kid that loves and has so much passion as Winston has for this game.”

    Findlay Head Coach Michael Peck says, “We are very excited and fortunate to get a player of Winston’s caliber and age into our program.  We look forward to three years of working with him.”

    Many college programs are currently interested and recruiting Sheppard including Oklahoma, Arizona State, Texas A&M, UNLV, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Texas, UCLA, Wake Forest and Indiana to name a few.

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    (Photos courtesy scarletknights.com and basketball spotlight)

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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.