Cronin Hopes New York Kids Follow Lance; Irving, Harris Highlight Sharette Dixon Classic | Zagsblog
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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 / May 22.
  • Cronin Hopes New York Kids Follow Lance; Irving, Harris Highlight Sharette Dixon Classic

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    If Mick Cronin had his way, every top player in New York City would follow Lance Stephenson.

    To Cincinnati.

    “I think it’s great for all the best players in New York to get out of New York and come to Cincinnati,” Cronin said with a smile in an interview you can see in the Video Player at right. “We hope that everybody follows Lance.”

    The 6-foot-5 Stephenson was voted the Big East preseason Rookie of the Year, but is still awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on his amateurism issues.

    “We’re waiting,” Cronin said. “He’s cleared academically so we’re just waiting on the amateur thing. He’s not the only one waiting. A lot of the elite players [John Wall, Renardo Sidney] are going through it…Hopefully, it’s done before the first game, I know that.”

    Cincinnati was picked No. 7 in the Big East preseason poll and the Bearcats figure to challenge for an NCAA Tournament bid.

    They return three potential future NBA players in Stephenson, Deonta Vaughn and Yancy Gates, along with experienced juniors Rashad Bishop and Larry Davis. Redshirt freshman Cashmere Wright takes over at the point and freshman wing Sean Kilpatrick joins Stephenson in the recruiting class.

    “You’ve got to have players,” Cronin said. “There’s no doubt we have some potential pros on our team. I think a couple guys are probably surefire pros. We’re going to play some freshman point guards, but we’re a team that has a chance this year.

    “We have a little secret weapon that becomes eligible in December, Ibrahima Thomas, a 7-foot forward who can shoot the 3.”


    The two most important things in Sharette Dixon’s life were her family and education.  Now that she has passed away, her husband Kimani Young and the NYC basketball community are banding together to make sure that her children get the support and education that they need in the future. On Sunday, Nov. 8, New York City legends Kenny Smith, Kenny Anderson and a host of others NYC basketball personalities will participate in the Sharette Dixon Classic, a showcase of the top talent from New York and New Jersey.

    “Sharette was a wonderful mother and a talented professor,” said Kenny Smith, who etched his name in New York City basketball lore before going on to a successful career as both an NBA player and television analyst. “This event is really a celebration of her life and the values that she stood for.”

    Former NYC legend and NJ Net Kenny Anderson will serve a host for the event, which will feature some of New York and New Jersey’s most promising players. The event will take place at Bishop Ford HS in Brooklyn and will begin with a Girls’ showcase at 4 pm, followed by a Boys’ showcase at 6 pm.

    Anderson, who is still considered one of the finest point guards ever to come out of New York City, said that participating in the event was an easy choice.

    “When you have hard times, the first place you look for support is your family,” said Anderson. “Kimani and I have been friends for more than 20 years.  Here in New York, the basketball community is like one giant family and we look out for each other.  Anything I can do for Kimani and his kids I will do.”

    True to Dixon’s nature, the event will recognize players who have excelled academically as well. One player from each participating team will receive the Sharette Dixon Academic Excellence Award, which is given to players who have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or better throughout their high school career.

    The Sharette Dixon Memorial Classic will take place on Sunday, Nov. 8, at Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn (500 19th Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11215). The girls game is at 4 and the boys game at 6.

    Proceeds from the event will support a family education and child care fund being established in Mrs. Dixon’s memory for her three children.


    Featured participants in the Sharette Dixon Classic include:

    Boys Game

    Kyrie Irving (#6 rated Senior in the nation; committed to Duke)

    JayVaughn Pinkston (#1 Senior in NYC; uncommitted)

    Tobias Harris (#7 Senior in the nation; uncommitted)

    Myck Kabongo (Top 25 Junior in the nation; committed to Texas)

    Sterling Gibbs (member of USA Basketball 16/U team)

    Kyle Anderson (member of USA Basketball 16/U team)

    Girls Game

    Jennifer O’Neal (#30 Senior in the nation; committed to Kentucky)

    Bria Hartley (#14 Senior in the nation; committed to UConn)

    Jaleah Sidney (#? Senior in the nation; committed to Syracuse)

    Dasia Simmons (#42 Senior in the nation; committed to Rutgers)

    Lauren Mincy (#23 Senior in the nation; committed to Maryland)

    Briyona Canty (#9 Junior in the nation; uncommitted)

    Bria Smith (#5 Junior in the nation; uncommitted)

    Academic Excellence Awards:

    Kyrie Irving, St. Patrick’s

    Hakeem Harris, Blair Academy

    Omar Calhoun, Christ the King

    Bria Hartley, North Babylon

    Korin Robinson, Mary Louis

    Ciarra Calhoun, JHS 51


    Seton Hall hosts Devon Collier of St. Anthony and Fuquan Edwin of Paterson Catholic on official visits this weekend. Collier is deciding from among Seton Hall, St. John’s, Providence and Oregon State, while Edwin already committed to the Pirates…St. John’s hosts J.J. Moore of South Kent (Conn.) on an unofficial and Ronald Roberts of St. Peter’s Prep on an official.

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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.