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.
Kyrie Irving, Michael Gilchrist and their Elizabeth (N.J.) St. Patrick teammates could have played in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational next month had a deal been struck between St. Pat’s attorneys and the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Assocation, ZAGSBLOG has learned.
Kevin Marino, the attorney for St. Patrick, offered to accept the NJSIAA’s penalties against St. Patrick for holding illegal out-of-season workouts if the state would let the team play in the ESPN event.
“Before we filed the [civil law]suit — before we went before the Executive Committee — I offered to accept all of their penalties in exchange for the ESPN tournament,” Marino said.
Marino said NJSIAA attorney Mike Herbert initially said he would recommend the deal, but came back and said it was a “nonstarter.”
The NJSIAA on Feb. 12 banned St Pat’s, the defending New Jersey Tournament of Champions winner, from the state tournament, handed head coach Kevin Boyle a three-game suspension and put the program on probation for next season.
St. Patrick initiated a civil lawsuit but last week was denied an injunction in Federal court in Newark that would have allowed the Celtics to play in the state tournament.
The Celtics played their last game in the Union County tournament final Feb. 27, trouncing Plainfield, 82-45.
For the first time this year, the ESPN event could include Florida public schools because that state’s athletic association voted to include its publics. Last year’s inaugural event included eight teams who were independent and not full-fledged members of their state associations.
The ESPN event runs April 1-3 at Coppin State.
Findlay (Nev.) Prep is the defending champ.
St. Patrick this season lost close games to Findlay, Oak Hill (Va.) Academy and Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict’s, all of which are expected to be included in the event.
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.