January 2011 | Page 14 of 18 | Zagsblog
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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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Monday / January 20.
  • UNION, N.J. — Kelvin Amayo turned up Sunday at Kean University to watch the St. Benedict’s-St. Patrick game with his NIA Prep teammates.

    The 6-foot-5, 210-pound fifth-year point guard shared the gym with Rutgers head coach Mike Rice, Seton Hall head coach Kevin Willard and other coaches, which seems only appropriate since he’s being courted by various Big East schools.

    “I have offers from Rutgers, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Colorado, Iowa State, some more schools,” Amayo, a Hillside, N.J. native, said during a break in the action. “Arizona State just came in today, so I don’t have no favorite right now.”

    Lekan Ajayi, a 6-foot-11, 240-pound senior center from Quality Education Academy (N.C.), says Seton Hall is his favorite after taking an unofficial there this past weekend.

    “I really love Seton Hall,” Ajayi, who is averaging 9.5 points and 15.5 rebounds according to MaxPreps.com, said Monday morning by phone from North Carolina. “I’ve not made my decision yet, but right now I really love Seton Hall. I like what I see out there.”

    During Seton Hall’s loss to Syracuse Saturday at The Prudential Center, Ajayi sat courtside near a slew of high-profile recruits, including 2012 guard Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony and 2014 big man Dakari Johnson of St. Patrick.

    Former Minnesota guard Devoe Joseph is headed to Oregon.

    “Devoe to Oregon,” Ro Russell, Joseph’s AAU coach with Grassroots Canada, said by text.

    “We have nothing but respect for coach [Tubby] Smith and the people at Minnesota. This is a Pac-10 style of play program that needs experience and immediate help. It also has a quarter system where he can play starting in early December versus late December like with a semester school.”

    Joseph must sit out a season and will become eligible in December.

    The 6-foot-3 junior averaged 11.2 points in eight games at Minnesota after sitting out the first six games because of a violation of team rules.

    UNION, N.J. — Michael Gilchrist displayed the full array of his skill-set Sunday before a packed house of 3,000 fans at Kean University’s Harwood Arena.

    The 6-foot-7 Kentucky signee hit a 3-pointer, flipped in a runner and repeatedly attacked the basket en route to 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and 2 steals as St. Patrick, No. 2 in the ESPN Rise Fab 50, downed in-state rival St. Benedict’s, 73-65, in the marquee game of the Scholarship for Inner City Children Festival.

    “Mike Gilchrist plays so hard and he does so many things,” said New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski. “He’s a warrior. If I were a coach, I’d love to coach him.”

    NEWARK, N.J. — Kyrie Irving may be on the shelf with a toe injury, but Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim says the Blue Devils are still the team to beat.

    “Duke, to me, without Kyrie are just slightly better than everybody else,” Boeheim said after the No. 4 Orange improved to 16-0 Saturday with a 61-56 win at Seton Hall.

    “Maybe even a little better than slightly better. With him, obviously, they were clearly in my mind the best team. But I’m not sure they’re still not the best team.”

    Marcus Paige, the No. 5 point guard in the Class of 2012 out of Marion (Iowa) Linn-Mar, announced that he will play for North Carolina.

    Paige is a 5-foot-11, 150-pound left-hander who hails from the same state as current Carolina frosh Harrison Barnes.

    He reportedly also had offers from Kansas, UCLA, Illinois, Iowa and Iowa State.

    Here’s the press release he gave to the Des Moines Register.

    “I would like to thank all the coaches across the country who have taken the time to recruit me to be a part of their basketball program. The recruiting process has been exciting for me and my family.