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.
‘Air Jamaica’ to Manhattan; National Prep Championship Set for Next Week; Boys & Girls, Cardozo Advance to PSAL Title Game
Joel ‘Air Jamaica’ Wright has verbally committed to play for Manhattan College.
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward had initially committed to Fordham while at Brooklyn Thomas Jefferson, but he and Fordham ultimately parted ways.
Wright is now at Central Jersey Each One Teach One (CJEOTO) after spending the first half of the year at Central Carolina Sports Academy, which he said has since shut down.
Wright said he picked Manhattan over interest from Providence, Pittsburgh, Baylor, Miami and Drexel. The story was first reported by Gotham Hoops Scouting.
“I picked them because it’s still a chance to be home,” Wright said. “[Coach Barry Rohrssen] is a cool dude. We had a relationship. I’m going to school where I can get exposure and my family can see me play. I want to be home so my mother [Diana Wilson] can see me play and enjoy my college career.”
Wright is due to take the SAT March 13, “but my academics are good,” he said
“He has a lot of quickness, he’s very athletic, he shoots the ball very well and he is understanding the game a lot better,” said CJEOTO coach Ian Turnbull.NATIONAL PREP CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD SET
By Adam Finkelstein
The field has been announced for the fourth annual National Prep Championship, which will take place next Tuesday and Wednesday, March 9th & 10th, at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut. The single elimination tournament features the top eight post-graduate programs in the country and will culminate with the crowning of an undisputed national champion.
The National Prep Championship has been in existence since 2007 and in just three years has already featured over 100 division I college basketball players and two current NBA players in Michael Beasley and Tyreke Evans. Beasley led Notre Dame Prep to the 2007 title in his hometown of Washington D.C., while current Mississippi State guard Dee Bost earned MVP honors in 2008 in leading Hargrave Military Academy over Findlay College Prep for the title. The Tilton School made a Cinderella run to last year’s championship behind the duo of current UConn freshmen Alex Oriakhi and Jamal Coombs-McDaniel.
This year, Hargrave Military Academy enters as the top seed with a 26-0 record. Head coach Kevin Keatts’ squad will look to regain their title after falling in last year’s final. While they will be led by future NC State guard Lorenzo Brown, this is an extraordinarily deep team who has already seen 10 of their 12 players commit to division I schools for next season including Dominique Ferguson (Florida International), Isaiah Epps (Pittsburgh), Shawn Kemp (Alabama), and Mardracus Wade (Arkansas).
Hargrave will face Tilton in a rematch of last year’s final in the opening round. The Rams will be led by Providence bound swingman Gerard Coleman, but have plenty of other weapons including junior big man Ryan Canty and sophomore forward George Niang.
Second seeded Brewster Academy features top ten ranked Will Barton (Memphis) along with C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), Austin Carroll (Rutgers), and Richard Peters (Oklahoma), in addition to unsigned players like Mo Walker, Ashton Khan, and junior point guard Naadir Tharpe. Brewster will face seventh seeded Westwind Prep from Arizona in the opening round, who build their attack around Tony Snell (New Mexico),Freddy Wilson(Seattle), and unsigned seniors Brandon Tuggle, Bo Barnes, and Ted Wang.
Two traditional New England powerhouses will clash in a match-up of the third and sixth seeds as Winchendon battles St. Thomas More. Winchendon has six players already committed to division I programs including Villanova bound big man Markus Kennedy and Connecticut native Anthony Ireland who will be playing in his home state for the final time before moving to Loyola Marymount in California while St. Thomas More features a slew of unsigned seniors including Bryon Allen, Tre Bowman, and Matt Conway in addition to Quinnipiac bound Dominique Langston. This game also features a match-up of two of the top post prospects in 2012 with St. Thomas More’s Andre Drummond and Winchendon’s Khem Birch.
Notre Dame Prep and Northfield Mount Hermon will meet in the 4-5 game. Notre Dame features their Big East bound frontline of Cleveland Melvin (UConn) and Ron Giplaye (Providence) in addition to a deep and talented backcourt of Antonio Barton (Memphis), Lamount Samuell Jr., and Jordair Jett. Meanwhile NMH will counter with high-major target Majok Majok in the middle surrounded by a sharp-shooting perimeter of Hector Harold (Pepperdine), Laurent Rivard (Harvard), and Aaron Cosby.
Quarterfinal action will begin on Tuesday at 2pm as Hargrave faces Tilton followed by Notre Dame and Northfield Mount Hermon at 4pm. Brewster and Westwind will take the court at 6pm while Winchendon and St. Thomas More will offer the nightcap at 8pm. Semifinal action will take place on Wednesday at 11am and 1pm with the final tipping off later that night at 7:30pm.
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.