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.
UConn Recruiting Point Guards; Rubio Wants Out; Griffin Pulls Out of USA Hoops Camp with Shoulder Injury
UConn coach Jim Calhoun knows that the Kemba Walker Era in Storrs won’t last forever.
Walker, the former Manhattan Rice star, averaged 8.9 points and 3.5 assists as a frosh on a team that made the Final Four.
If he has a big year this season paired in the backcourt with Jerome Dyson, it’s possible that Walker could go to the NBA after his sophomore season.
That is why Calhoun is in Las Vegas scouting a couple of high-profile point guards in Joe Jackson and Josh Selby, who recently de-committed from Tennessee while UT coach Bruce Pearl was in Israel coaching Team USA in the Maccabiah Games. UConn is also involved with Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight.
Playing at the adidas 64, Selby told Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com that his commitment to Tennessee was premature and that he had only visited Louisville and Tennessee.
Jackson is a native of Memphis whom many think will end up playing for Josh Pastner with the Tigers.
“That’s all he’s been preaching since he got to Memphis, even when he was an assistant coach, that I’m the No. 1 guy,” Jackson told the Memphis Commercial Appeal of Pastner. “He’s relentless. He doesn’t give up. He wants you to commit right on the spot every time he talks to you. That’s how he is. I’m just speechless because he wants me so bad. He comes harder than anybody.”
But Jackson told Goodman these schools were also involved: Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, UConn, Texas, Marquette, Indiana and Duke.
Jackson told Goodman that Kentucky coach John Calipari told him he’s his top point guard recruit.
Calipari has John Wall and Eric Bledsoe in the fold for this year, but Wall is expected to jump after one year.
Kentucky, like UConn, is recruiting Selby, Jackson, Knight and Irving.
“You know whoever commits first is going to be the main guy,” Jackson told Goodman. “If they want me, they’ll wait. Calipari says he wants me real bad and I’m his top guy – and I’m just going on what he tells me.”
Irving, meantime, is looking for immediate playing time as a frosh, so UConn could fit the bill, but only if Walker leaves.
St. Patrick head coach Kevin Boyle told me he hears most from Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Seton Hall, Texas A&M and Georgia Tech.
“Those are the ones Kyrie speaks to me most about. They’re all working really hard to get him,” Boyle said
“It’s clear with all those schools that he would have an excellent chance to go in and compete for a starting job right away.
As for Knight, he, along with Harrison Barnes, is not in Vegas, but is expected to compete in the Nike Global Games next month, according to Goodman.
RUBIO PLANS TO PART WITH SPANISH CLUBRicky Rubio plans to part ways with Spanish basketball club DKV Joventut even if the Minnesota Timberwolves cannot reach a deal to bring their first-round draft pick to the NBA.
Timberwolves President David Kahn was in Spain this week to try and help the fifth overall pick negotiate a buyout of his contract with Joventut. Rubio is at odds with his boyhood club over a buyout clause that could cost the 18-year-old point guard as much as $6.6 million. The NBA’s collective bargaining rules limit the Timberwolves’ contribution to $500,000.
Regardless of whether Rubio makes the trip across the Atlantic next season, he won’t be playing at Joventut.
“I want to continue with the club but, after everything that’s happened, I don’t think they’re too comfortable having me in their squad,” Rubio said.
Knicks GM Donnie Walsh has coveted Rubio, but it remains unclear if the Knicks have the pieces to pry him from Minnesota.
SHOULDER SIDELINES BLAKE GRIFFINLos Angeles Clippers’ rookie forward Blake Griffin will spend the next three to four weeks resting a strain to his right shoulder which he incurred in the third game of the Clippers’ five game Las Vegas Summer League schedule last week.
Griffin, named the League’s Most Outstanding Player, went on to average 19.2 points and 10.8 rebounds.
Griffin will maintain his normal lower body training and conditioning regimen, and will be further evaluated regularly. He was examined and diagnosed Tuesday by Clippers’ team physician Dr. Steven Shimoyama. A second examination today by Los Angeles-based specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum confirmed the earlier diagnosis and suggested protocol.
As a precaution, Griffin will be held out of the USA Basketball National Team Mini-Camp to which he was invited and which starts today in Las Vegas.
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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.