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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Singler-Kennedy Matchup Key; Boothe Says Johnnies Faster Than Duke
NEW YORK — One of the key matchups to watch in today’s St. John’s-Duke game (3:30, ESPN2) is the one between wing players D.J. Kennedy of the Johnnies and Kyle Singler of Duke.
The 6-foot-8 Singler leads Duke at 17.1 points a game and adds 6.7 rebounds.
The 6-6 Kennedy, nicknamed “Big Play” and with a tattoo to that effect on his neck, will get the assignment of covering Singler. Kennedy leads the Johnnies with 17.7 points and is shooting a team-best 56 percent.
“He’s probably one of the best players in the country,” Kennedy said of Singler. “He can do a lot. He’s 6-9, he can play the wing, he can shoot. He’s got a lot of moves. He’s a great player. I think it will be a great matchup for me….I’m really looking forward to the matchup.”
“It’s one of our best perimeter defenders guarding probably their best all-around perimeter player,” St. John’s coach Norm Roberts said of Kennedy. “[Singler] can score in so many different ways, but D.J. has size, too. D.J. being 6-6, Singler 6-8. D.J.’s got pretty good reach, he’s strong.
“We’re also going to have to give him help. It can’t be just one guy. Against Wisconsin I think he got 28. He was making running hook shots so he’s a very, very talentd guy but I think D.J. will take on the challenge of guarding him but knowing that he’s going to get help from his teammates.”
**St. John’s point guard Malik Boothe also believes the Johnnies have more speed than Duke and could potentially outrun their big lineup, which includes Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas.
“I feel like we’re quicker than Duke,” Boothe said. “They start some big guys. I don’t know if they’re going to start the big lineup but I feel like we can get out and run. It will be a little tough on them…We got a lot of guys who can run the court, so I really feel that that’s to our advantage.”
**While Singler could leave for the NBA after this season, Roberts believes the Red Storm have several potential pros, too.
“I think we got a bunch of guys with NBA potential,” he said. “I think D.J., I think Justin Brownlee, Paris Horne, [Justin] Burrell.”
“I think we have a few guys with NBA potential.”
**For more on St. John’s read the Malik Stith feature here.
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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.