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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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Thursday / February 9.
  • A year ago, the Big East men’s basketball conference calls were plagued by hackers who called up and asked the coaches a slew of inappropriate sex-related questions.

    Now it appears guns are the hot topic.

    During the first Big East call of the season on Thursday, a caller who identified himself as Mike Marot of The Associated Press (who is a real person), asked UConn coach Jim Calhoun this gem.

    “I just want to thank you for you and your players listening to the Kidd Chris Show out of Portland, Ore., KUFO. Appreciate that.

    “Talk about the Kidd Chris Show. Do you guys have guns in the locker room anymore? I don’t know what that problem is. Was that any of your problems, or was that just Kidd Chris Show.”

    In an effort to jump-start his team against UConn, Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez gave junior Keon Lawrence his first start at point guard while sitting down senior Eugene Harvey, who had started 12 of the previous 13 games.

    Lawrence shot 2-for-11 from the field and finished with 4 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes in Seton Hall’s 71-63 loss.

    This development marks quite a turnaround for Lawrence, who was reinstated Dec. 19 after being suspended indefinitely for driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and causing a two-car accident.

    A former star under Dan Hurley at St. Benedict’s Prep, Harvey had been averaging 8.9 points,  5.3 assists and 2.8 turnovers with a 1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio.

    This was supposed to be the year things got better.

    It was supposed to be the year that the Big East teams in the New York metropolitan area made dramatic strides in the standings.

    Yet after Wednesday’s games Rutgers (0-2), Seton Hall (0-3) and St. John’s (0-2) are a combined 0-7 in league play.

    Rutgers was blistered by West Virginia, 86-52, in Morgantown, West. Va., while Seton Hall played No. 13 UConn down to the wire before falling, 71-63, in Storrs, Conn.

    Now while it’s still early, remember the fateful words of Yogi Berra, who once said, “It gets late early out there.”

    “The bottom line we need to do is, we need to get a win, period. If it’s not Wednesday night against UConn, then we gotta try and get it Saturday night against Cincinnati,” Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez told me Tuesday, before the UConn game.

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Considering all the basketball players across the world who have the potential to play in the NBA, you might be hard pressed to find two guys less likely to  be in the league right now than Marcus Landry and Jonathan Bender.

    The 6-foot-7 Landry (pictured) was an undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin who was the last man to make the Knicks roster out of training camp.

    The 6-9 Bender hadn’t played an NBA game in four years before the Knicks brought him and his creaky knees out of retirement.

    Yet the Knicks chose not to waive either player at Wednesday’s 6 o’clock deadline, which means their contracts are  now guaranteed for the season.

    Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick junior wing Michael Gilchrist injured his right knee during Tuesday night’s 62-46 victory over Union and was taken to the emergency room.

    Gilchrist was trying to get an MRI on Wednesday, a source said.

    Gilchrist took a pass and cut to the basket and then his knee collided with that of a defender.

    “It looked like a knee-on-knee thing. Hopefully it wasn’t too serious,” a source said.  “Hopefully it’s something muscular and nothing more serious.”

    The 6-foot-7 Gilchrist is the No. 1 junior in the nation and is widely regarded as the top high school player in the country. He averaged 14.9 points and 8.3 rebounds last season as the Celtics won the New Jersey Tournament of Champions.

    Kentucky and Villanova lead for his services but other schools, including Rutgers, Michigan and UConn, are involved as well.

    “From the times I’ve seen him play, he’s got a very bright future,” said Knicks forward and former St. Pat’s star Al Harrington.

    Asked if Gilchrist could play in the NBA, Harrington said with a smile: “Of course, St. Pat’s, that all we do is produce NBA players.”

    SETON HALL TO OFFER MACK