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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 22.
  • By ALEX KLINE

    This year’s West Virginia Jam Fest presented by the Hoop Group was filled with over 200 teams from the U15, U16 and U17 divisions.

    There were 144 U17s squads battling it out for the championship but only one rose to the top. With hundreds of different colleges represented, it was an amazing event. Bob Huggins of West Virginia, Florida’s Billy Donovan, Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, Boston College’s Steve Donahue, Boston University’s Patrick Chambers, Kentucky assistant Orlando Antigua and Villanova assistant Jason Donnelly were among the coaches on hand.

    In the 15’s division, the talent was through the roof. Rising sophomores such as Tyler Ennis and Aquille Carr put on shows. In the end, Expressions out of Massachussets won it all. The squad beat Boo Williams in overtime, 53-51.

    Rutgers had tremendous success with the last African player it recruited.

    Hamady N’Diaye, a 7-foot center from Senegal, was named the 2009-10 Big East Defensive Player of the Year and now plays for the Washington Wizards summer league team.

    Now new Rutgers coach Mike Rice could be close to landing a commitment from Daddy Ugbede, a 6-foot-6 wing from Lagos, Nigeria who also has interest from Kentucky and Maryland.

    Ugbede, 16, is in the Class of 2012 and will enroll this fall at St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., the alma mater of Georgetown standout Chris Wright.

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Only one player at this week’s Peach Jam was in the top five in both rebounds and assists.

    That man was Kyle Anderson, a 6-foot-8 1/2, 220-pound rising junior from North Bergen, N.J. who runs with the Playaz Basketball Club. Anderson will play for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony after spending two years at the now-defunct Paterson (N.J.) Catholic.

    Raised by his father, Kyle Sr., as a point guard, Anderson creates tremendous mismatch problems for opposing teams. Although he has been accused of being somewhat slow-footed, Anderson uses his height to see over defenses and his length to attack the rim.

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Jim Boeheim isn’t certain whether Carmelo Anthony will ever help the Knicks, but he believes Andy Rautins can right away.

    While watching the Peach Jam this past week, the Hall of Fame coach from Syracuse chimed in on both former players.

    Boeheim attended Carmelo’s recent wedding in New York but said he wasn’t sure if Anthony might want to come to the Knicks in 2011 as a free agent.

    “I have no idea, he has no idea,” Boeheim said. “That’s a long ways away. There’s a lot of contract talk. He’s got a contract on the table. If he doesn’t sign it, with the new collective bargaining agreement coming who knows how the money will change. It could change a lot.”

    Team Takeover lost in the quarterfinals of the 2009 Peach Jam, but head coach Keith Stevens believes his squad should have won the whole thing.

    A year later, his Washington, D.C.-based team went a perfect 8-0 en route to winning the inaugural Elite Youth Basketball League at the Nike Peach Jam with a 70-62 victory over the St. Louis Eagles.

    The game was taped Thursday and shown nationally on ESPNU.

    “It’s definitely a good experience being that it’s the first time that they ever had this particular league,” Stevens said. “To be able to accomplish something like this in such a short time was definitely a good experience.”

    Junior point guard James Robinson went a perfect 10-of-10 from the line and finished with a team-high 24 points. Duke-bound wing Michael Gbinije added 19 points.

    NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — After spending four nights here rooming with the honorable Tom Konchalski, I’m headed home to New York City today to see my wife and kids.

    The semifinals are set for 9 a.m. with Kentucky-bound Michael Gilchrist and Team Final from New Jersey taking on Florida commit Bradley Beal and the St. Louis Eagles and then Duke-bound Michael Gbinije and Team Takeover meeting Kentucky commit Marquis Teague and Spiece Indy Heat.

    The championship game goes off at 3 p.m. and will be shown on ESPNU at 7. The Sweet 16-and-under tournament final is at 1.

    “Any time you have a chance to get on national TV and showcase your talents — that can only be a plus,” Team Takeover coach Keith Stevens, whose Washington, D.C., squad is the only one to win all six of its games so far here, told The Augusta Chronicle.

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