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.
I’m here at St. John’s for the “Summer in the City” event on the last day of the July recruiting period and some big name coaches are still working hard, including Kentucky’s John Calipari, Tennessee’s Bruce Pearl, Seton Hall’s Bobby Gonzalez, St. John’s Norm Roberts, Villanova’s Jay Wright, St. Joe’s Phil Martelli, Iona’s Kevin Willard and Rider’s Tommy Dempsey.
I had several long and friendly chats with each of them and will have stories and blogs on them next week after I recover from tonight’s AC/DC show at Giants Stadium. In the meantime, here are a few quick notes:
**Tennessee’s Pearl and assistant Steve Forbes flew up on a private jet just to watch 6-6 senior forward JayVaughn Pinkston of Brooklyn Bishop Loughlin. Marquette, Arizona, Villanova, St. John’s and Miami are also in the mix for Pinkston, who dropped 19 on Grassroots Canada in Vegas. Pinkston said he won’t decide until the fall.
“Kimani [Young of New Heights] tells me [about the schools], but I realy don’t pay attention,” Pinkston said. “I just go out there and play. IF you think about it too much then you’re not going to do so well.”
**In its search to replace the decommitted Josh Selby, the Vols are looking at Joe Jackson of Memphis and Trevor Releford, the younger brother of Kansas’ Travis Releford.
**Pitt commit Isaiah Epps says he will attend Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy this year before enrolling at Pitt. He turns 19 this year and is too old to play at Plainfield (N.J.) High.
“I decided with my mother and my uncle and we all decided to go to Hargrave,” said Epps, who leaves in late August.
Epps said he’s “very excited” about going to Pitt next year.
“I talk to [Ashton Gibbs] and [Travon Woodall] a lot,” he said. “Basically they told me I’m not going to come in there and start right away. They’re just going to work me hard so I can get ready for the next level.”
**One Division 1 head coach says Seton Hall has Top 20 talent.
“Herb Pope (pictured) will make everyone around him a better player. That’s the type of skill-set that he has. Keon Lawrence is proven that he can score double-digits and shoot a decent percentage in a high-major league, so you would think he would be able to produce. You’re surrounding him with Nunu [Eugene Harvey] and [Jeremy] Hazell, that’s a Top 20 talent-wise lineup.”
**That same coach is also high on Rutgers point guard James Beatty of Miami DAde College.
“”James Beatty is a high level point guard that will be able to win games just by his physicality and his urgency. His sole purpose is to make winnng plays and to win.”
**Jayon James, the former Paterson Catholic guard, is listed on the roster as being from The Lawrence (Mass.) Academy, but his father said they will visit St. Thomas More and Lawrence next week. They will also go with Harold McBride, the former St. Ray’s guard who is reclassifying to 2011 and said he will pick one of those two prep schools as well.
**Derrick Williams, the 6-7 forward from St. Anthony, said he’s picked up offers from Boston College, St. Bonaventure and VCU. He previously held offers from Fordham, Virginia, Richmond and Oklahoma State.
“I don’t have any favorites. Everything is still equal,” he said.
**6-8 former Western Kentucky commit David Laury of the NIA School is here playing with Team Lucky NYC and is apparently back on the market.
**The U17 semis feature New Heights Blue-Playaz and Rise Panthers-Team Phlly.
**Happy Birthday to Howard Garfinkel who turns 80 on Saturday.
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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.