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.
Dwayne Mitchell, the new head coach at Manhattan Rice High School, confirms that 6-foot-9 senior forward Kadeem Jack will head to South Kent (Conn.) next year and not college.
“Right now, I just know Kadeem is committed to going to South Kent,” Mitchell said Thursday night. “Until he’s there and he’s going to class, he could change his mind. But right now that’s where he said he’s going, South Kent.”
Reached earlier this week by text, Jack confirmed that he would indeed spend a year at prep school.
“Yea,” he wrote.
Jack will be joined at South Kent by Forest Hill (Queens) High junior wing and UConn commit Maurice Harkless, who also announced his intention to play at the school.
Harkless said he planned to remain committed to UConn despite the resignation of Pat Sellers and Beau Archibald.
“Yeah, I’m definitely staying,” Harkless told ZAGSBLOG contributor Alex Kline. “They had nothing to do with my recruitment really. It doesn’t affect me.”
Jack surprised many by saying he would prep for a year despite holding offers from Arizona, Arkansas, Miami and UConn.
After North Carolina lost the Wear twins to transfer, the Tar Heels became interested in Jack, who initially said he would visit that school and Kentucky.
Now it appears no visits are forthcoming.
“I think North Carolina was there and they talked to some people that they were affiliated with who liked Kadeem,” Mitchell said. “But after they did their homework they probably came up with some other people.”
He added: “I don’t think they offered him any visits to come down there, as far as I know of.”
As for Kentucky, Mitchell said, “I don’t even really know where the Kentucky thing came from.”
(Jack did mention that he planned to take visits to both schools.)
Mitchell, like his former boss, Moe Hicks, admitted to being surprised that Jack was considering these other options when he had offers on the table.
“To me, I think there was some schools that he had,” Mitchell said. “There was the Arkansas’ and the Arizonas and the Miamis. To me, North Carolina a great program. No disrespect to North Carolina.”
Ultimately, Jack felt a year of prep school was the best option.
“He just felt that it was a better situation for him as far as his development,” Mitchell said. “He just felt that he needed another year to prep for college. We don’t think he did, but at the end of the day it’s his life and he has the right to make that choice.”
As far as the situation at Rice, SNY.tv reported in early May that Mitchell was expected to take over for Hicks, who agreed to become the Director of Basketball Operations at St. John’s under head coach Steve Lavin.
Hicks and Mike Dunlap are expected to be officially named to the St. John’s staff on Tuesday.
Hicks led Rice to the New York State Federation tournament championships in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2009 and has churned out a slew of high-major Division 1 players, including Curtis Kelly (Kansas State), Kemba Walker (UConn) and Durand Scott (Miami).
Mitchell said he plans to continue the storied tradition at Rice and could add New Heights athletic director Kimani Young as an assistant depending on what happens at Fordham. Young is also in the mix to join Tom Pecora’s staff there.
“Moe did a great job developing the student-athlete and the guys that went to college and graduated from college,” Mitchell said. “That’s what I want to do, keep that going. That’s important to me, that the kids who come to the program go to college and be blessed to go to the next level, whether it’s the NBA [or not]. If not, they come out and they get their four-year degree and then make it in life. That’s my goal.”
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.